A SCOTTISH hospitality leader is warning that uncertainty over the current restrictions trajectory in Scotland could impact the next potential opportunity to scrape back earnings.

With Christmas and New Year celebrations dubbed a write-off for many in the industry, concerns are growing over bookings for the annual break in spring on which tourism firms will be pinning their next hopes amid the Omicron variation wave.

Businesses, of course, hailed the reduction of isolation days from 10 to seven, as an “overdue but welcome step”, according to Donald MacLeod, owner of The Garage and Cathouse nightclubs.

Also cheered was First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s scrapping of pre-departure testing for travellers entering Scotland.

One day later, said Mike Tibbert, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, enquiries and bookings were up around 100 per cent on the previous week.

HeraldScotland:

However, there are still fears that with “no easing of restrictions or reversal of closures the future of jobs and livelihoods remain hanging in the balance”, says Leon Thompson, industry body UKHospitality Scotland’s executive director.

A less opaque plan of action from the Scottish Government is essential, is the view. 

“The ongoing uncertainty on how, or indeed if, sporting and business events can take place over coming weeks and months is now sapping business and consumer confidence further,” said Mr Thompson. “If the uncertainty around restrictions continues, Easter bookings and trade will suffer, too, as holidaymakers from Scotland and the rest of the UK decide to travel elsewhere.”

HeraldScotland: Concerns over future bookings have been raised. Getty Images.Concerns over future bookings have been raised. Getty Images.

He reiterated concerns over funding delays. “Financial support for hospitality is yet to reach struggling businesses - even when it does, it will help with some immediate costs but won’t save the struggling hospitality venues that so desperately need to trade at full capacity.

“Above all, those businesses need clarity on when restrictions will be lifted and recognition from the Scottish Government that future restrictions on hospitality are not the way out of the current phase of the pandemic.”

Clearly the situation is still fluid and steps forward should always be taken with caution, but keeping business informed at the earliest opportunity allows critical planning on a logistics landscape made more volatile by the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The narrative behind Brexit is dissected by business editor Ian McConnell in his Called to Account column this week.

“The contrast between Lord David Frost’s January 1 comment about New Year Honours bestowed on his Brexit negotiating team and the Federation of Small Businesses’ first survey release of 2022 could hardly have been starker,” he writes.

As Cambo continues to come under scrutiny, official figures slipped out by the Scottish Government over the holiday period underlined the huge challenges it will face achieving its renewable energy ambitions as the risks it will frighten off investment in vital gas fields increased, Mark Williamson reveals.

The Energy Statistics for Scotland report which was issued on December 23 showed that the target for all of the electricity used in the country to come from renewable sources by the end of 2020 was missed.

There was a toast at Tesco as it regained its highest share of UK supermarket spending in nearly four years in the key festive period, Kristy Dorsey writes.