Inverness Hotels Association has said staffing shortages in the highlands are reaching “crisis levels”, with European applicants “drying up” due to Brexit fears.
That is the warning of the body of hoteliers which claims lack of central vision and support will see the region fail to cope with booming visitor numbers.
Emmanuel Moine, Inverness Hotels Association chairman and general manager of the Glen Mhor, hotel in Inverness said: “If nothing is done, smaller, independent or family businesses will be forced to close. It is already happening, not just in Inverness, across the highlands. Chains will dominate because any business with 20-30 bedrooms can’t cope any more. Profit is not there and staffing has become a complete nightmare. Since Brexit, CVs coming from Europe have all but dried up.
“We need to build a domestic workforce but there seems to be a lack of will and poor promotion of hospitality as a proper career in Scotland. That has to change.”
On top of the impact of rising costs including business rates and staffing costs as well as shortages, the group says a “half-hearted tourism strategy” is set to see independent accommodation providers shutting their doors in the area.
The group wants to meet with government officials, council representatives and enterprise bodies to agree urgent measures to prevent a skills and infrastructure breakdown.
The Inverness Hotels Association, which is affiliated to the Scottish Tourism Alliance, will be writing to MSPs and councillors to initiate talks, particularly regarding the Scottish ‘tourism tax’, which the group says is another burden the highlands can “ill afford”.