A COVID-19 restrictions "wrecking ball" has cost Scotland's self-catering holiday providers £265m since September.

The alarming findings have sent what was described as a "shockwave of dismay" through the sector which is supporting the staycation boom and raised serious questions about the impact on the wider tourism sector vital to Scotland’s economy.

The data, analysed by leading independent consultants Frontline, shows that the self-catering sector of over 17,000 self-catering properties had lost the sizable portion of its revenue in the months since September 2020, as a direct result of the Covid-19 regulations.

Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), described the impact of the restrictions, as a “financial wrecking ball” to the sector.

It comes as some self-catering companies have had to inform those who are suffering the most restrictions in Covid tier system that their staycations must be cancelled.

Research on the "devastating impact" caused by the Covid-19 restrictions involved gathering information from 1000 self-caterers.

Thos restrictions includes travel bans, the ‘rule of six’, restrictions on household gatherings, and Christmas bubble rules.

An ASSC spokesman said: "Given that the £265m loss since September 2020 applies specifically to self-catering, the impact on tourism and hospitality will undoubtedly be severe as the findings do not account for the economic footfall generated by visitors staying in such accommodation in bars, restaurants, and visitor attractions "The scale of the damage comes as a double-blow for the sector, given that those within it have complied fully with the Scottish Government throughout the pandemic; shutting down early and only opening once strict cleaning protocols, backed by the Scottish Government, were in place."

Finance secretary Kate Forbes on Wednesday announced £185 million in support for Scottish businesses, which included £60m for tourism businesses and £30m in one-off payments to hospitality businesses.

The ASSC said it welcomed additional support for the hospitality sector, but said it remains to been seen what it means for the industry which has been devastated by the travel restrictions.

UK Hospitality executive director for Scotland, Willie Macleod, said the money “will provide much-needed support for businesses that are being seriously hard-pressed” but added that the industry requires “longer-term action”.

The Frontline survey of 999 operators big and small found that 942 had suffered an impact of under £50,000 since September, an average hit of £10,545. A further 55 had lost over £50,000, at an average of £85,000.

Two unidentified operators incurred a loss of £2.6m and £1.5m.

ASSC chief executive, Fiona Campbell, said: “These alarming and distressing figures show that Covid-19 restrictions have sent a financial wrecking ball swinging through Scotland’s vital self-catering sector.

“While this is a huge number that is difficult to comprehend, it’s important to remember that each and every pound of it represents a loss to someone’s business, their livelihood, and their family’s future and quality of life.

“However, even in these dark times, it’s also worth keeping in mind that our sector has shown in the past that it is robust, reliable, and resilient and I believe that we are capable of recovering.

Director of Frontline, Suzanne Hamilton, said: “Our research shows unequivocally that the restrictions put in place in Scotland have had a hugely detrimental impact on the Scottish self-catering sector."

One email sent from Canopy & Stars to customers at the end of last month Director of Frontline, Suzanne Hamilton, said: “Our research shows unequivocally that the restrictions put in place in Scotland have had a hugely detrimental impact on the Scottish self-catering sector."

read: "If you live in a Tier 3 area (or Tier 3, 4 or 5 in Scotland) you will no longer be able to go on your Canopy & Stars holiday. You will need to inform us if you do live in a restricted area by [December 1] and our team will be able to move your booking."

A spokesperson for the company said: "For any guests unable to travel due to a government health measure, either Tier 3, Welsh/Scottish restrictions or a positive Covid-19 test/being asked to self-isolate by Test & Trace, we are offering to change their date, or in cases where that is not possible, we can look to refund.

"Essentially, we’re not cancelling bookings until we have spoken to guests, we are contacting all guests to inform them of the situation and to advise them to check the restrictions."

Holidaycottages.co.uk, which offers self-catering properties throughout the UK, said at the end of last month that customers travelling from or to a Tier 3 area in England, or 3 or higher in Scotland, have been contacted and informed that their booking cannot go ahead.

It explained that all affected guests have been given the option to move their booking, to receive a voucher for the amount they have paid or to get a full refund.