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The Caterer

Please don't go Scotland

16 May 2014
Please don't go Scotland

Every week we hear more reasons why the people of Scotland should vote to remain part of the UK. These include the risks of losing the pound, being kicked out of the EU and suffering numerous economic disadvantages.

And yet polls indicate these warnings are having no effect upon voters' intentions, with the SNP claiming to have won the support of half the national electorate so far.

Maybe this is because the arguments for leaving the UK are delivered with real passion, while those for staying are made in the same way our membership of the European Union is usually defended: on the economic risks associated with separation.

So let me put some passion into the case for sustaining the historic ties that bind England and Scotland, from a hospitality perspective.

After London, Edinburgh is the most visited city in Britain, and Glasgow is in the top 10. The pulling power of London and Edinburgh are hard to overstate, as both draw visitors to all parts of this country who might otherwise not come at all. Scotland also encourages stays in Northern England en route.

Scotland harvests fabulous food and, of course, makes the best whisky in the world. It has even produced some rather good hoteliers who now run businesses down south. As an asset to the pulling power of Britain as a destination, Scotland is worth its weight in gold.

On my latest trip north of the border, I was reminded of the joy of driving on completely open roads, a pleasure most southern regions lost decades ago, and I noticed people stopping at viewpoints to take pictures or just gawp at the scenery. No doubt others would be equally impressed by the artistic attractions in the cities. Most tellingly, as a lad from Surrey, I felt at home in a country of which I am proud.

Marketing as we do a collection of luxury hotels across the UK, I am extremely conscious of the contribution to Pride of Britain represented by its Scottish members. In turn, they see the value of being presented, alongside similar properties in England and Wales, to customers in all parts of Britain. There is logic to promoting these islands as one destination - it works for New Zealand and the Maldives.

Just imagine how the French would rejoice in being even further ahead of us in the world tourism rankings with Scotland's share taken out of the figures. Can there be a more compelling reason for everyone in hospitality to say: "Scotland, we love you. Please don't go."

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