ONE in five tourist attractions in Scotland are concerned about their long-term survival.
Gordon Morrison, CEO of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), said while many benefited from good visitor numbers over the summer, he had “very serious concerns” about the low season, in especially when the cost of living crisis hits even harder due to rising winter bills.
“About one in five attractions operators are worried about their business surviving in the off-season due to the rising cost of doing business and the impact the cost of living crisis will have on visits to the future,” he said.
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The latest figures show that the total number of visitors to ASVA member attractions from January to June is down 30% from 2019 levels.
“This indicates that there has been a further increase in visits from May, but that the sector is by no means experiencing a ‘full recovery,'” Morrison said.
“Most of the ASVA members I speak to have benefited from a good number of visitors, but the fact is that the cost of doing business has accelerated to such a level that all the money earned from the increased visitor numbers are completely swallowed up by increased visitor numbers, utility bills, fuel costs, etc.
“I’ve been told by some operators who look after large sites that utility bills have already gone up over 300% this year and of course it’s only going to get worse.”
Morrison pointed out that this is a seasonal industry, where the business model for most attractions is to maximize revenue in the summer to sustain them through the winter.
“With all the summer profits gobbled up by the cost of doing business, there is a very real fear that we are facing an extremely difficult winter, especially as there are no signs of significant government support. “, did he declare.
Some parts of the sector perform better than others, with outdoor operators such as wildlife and natural attractions performing better than indoor operators such as museums, galleries, distilleries and breweries.
In addition to rising costs, recruitment issues have hampered many attractions, meaning many are unable to operate at full capacity.
“Our most recent research shows that around 55% of the industry has struggled to recruit hospitality staff this season,” Morrison said. “In addition, a number of attractions are not yet open, following the Covid disruptions of recent years.”