“Crucial” new survey of tourism businesses launched in South of Scotland as operating challenges grow

First South of Scotland Destination Alliance ‘barometer survey’ aims to gain vital insight into how tourism businesses in the region are faring and their priorities for the coming year


The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) has launched its first ‘barometer survey’ of tourism and hospitality businesses in the South of Scotland, aiming to build a comprehensive picture of the current state of the industry in the region and what operators’ key challenges and priorities are as the economic picture worsens.


In today’s increasingly uncertain economic climate, with the cost of living and energy bills soaring, this timely survey seeks to gauge how businesses are faring, what challenges they’re coping with and what their priorities are for the next 12 months.


The SSDA will then collate and assess the data submitted to build up a clear and informed picture of how it and partner organisations working together on behalf of the South of Scotland, such as South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) can best provide support for the region’s visitor economy in the coming year and beyond.


Melanie Allen, SSDA Interim Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the Scottish Tourism Alliance’s recent appeal to the UK’s new Prime Minister and her government outlining the urgent needs of Scotland’s tourism industry as a whole.


‘We know businesses in our region share many of the same concerns about the future as their counterparts across the country, faced with growing uncertainty in the weeks and months ahead as the cost of living crisis deepens.


“If we as an organisation are going to be properly effective at giving businesses in our own region the help and support we can offer, it’s crucial that we get an in-depth and up-to-date picture of how things are on the ground, and what their key priorities are for what looks like an increasingly challenging year ahead.


“Whether you run a hotel, a visitor attraction, a café, restaurant, pub or holiday accommodation, we want as many tourism and hospitality business operators in the South of Scotland as possible to fill in our first barometer survey as a matter of urgency, to give us invaluable insights into how this critical industry is faring. Please tell us what your business priorities are over the next 12 months and how you might be looking to sustain your business operations; whether you are working to recover, survive, adapt or grow.


“The results will help us inform industry-led discussions and effectively champion your needs and priorities with the Scottish Government. With the data we gather through this survey, we can work with stakeholders to highlight key challenges across the spectrum of tourism and hospitality in the South of Scotland, keeping you informed as you navigate your business through the months ahead.”


Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE, said: “Tourism is hugely significant to the South of Scotland, with the SSDA aiming to help grow tourism spend in the region to £1billion by 2030.


“At this challenging time, it is vital we hear the views of the industry, which the SSDA barometer survey will do, and allow partners to provide the best support.”


Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), said: “Scotland’s tourism industry is currently facing a multitude of challenges, from the decline in consumer spending due to the cost-of-living crisis and rise in inflation to the significant costs of merely keeping businesses open in significantly challenging times.  The voice of Scotland’s tourism industry has never been more important, and I would encourage all sector businesses in the South of Scotland to take this opportunity to share what are vital insights; ones which the STA will also draw on in our regular discussions with both the UK and Scottish Governments.”


Businesses can complete the survey online on the SSDA website  – it will be open for responses until Monday 26 September at 11.59pm.


The SSDA plans to roll out another barometer survey in around six months’ time to take the temperature of the industry after the difficult winter period. Two barometer surveys of South of Scotland tourism and hospitality businesses will be carried out each year, providing invaluable insights and data to inform policymakers, organisations and business leaders right across the region.



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