Scotland needs infrastructure to achieve tourism growth plan

27 June 2006
Scotland needs infrastructure to achieve tourism growth plan

Scotland needs to ensure it has the infrastructure and people to achieve its planned 50% growth in tourism over 10 years, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) has warned.

The association plans to devote its Scotland United conference in November to these issues by limiting the normally-open event to invited industry leaders and policy-makers.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the BHA, said it was currently unclear whether Scotland had enough hotels to cope with more tourists.

"Scottish hotels get quite full in the summer," he pointed out. "If all the extra visitors come in the summer, there may be a capacity problem."

Couchman believes planning is also an urgent issue. The Planning Bill is currently passing through the Scottish Parliament and Green MSPs are opposing proposals for a fast-track system, which would allow hotel stock shortfalls to be quickly plugged.

Scotland's transport infrastructure's ability to cope with increased volumes and its education system's attempt to produce enough hospitality workers with the right skills to meet demand, will also be under the spotlight at the BHA conference.

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By Angela Frewin

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