DAVID RICHARDSON: We must hope for last-minute holiday bookings in the Highlands

FSB regional development manager David Richardson.

The good news is that we’re all back to normal, enjoying life without any Covid restrictions for the first summer since 2019.

But that doesn’t mean that business owners can sit back and relax – far from it! What with depleted cash reserves and Covid debt, rapidly rising costs and horrendous staff shortages, many businesses in Inverness and the wider Highlands are really struggling.

A bumper staycation tourist year would obviously help, but as things stand, 2022 is not going to be a bumper year. Indeed, most operators that I speak to are disappointed with the year to date, something true for hotels, self-caterers and activity providers alike, and the picture is not much brighter looking forward.

Clearly, inflation is hitting consumers’ pockets hard and every penny is a prisoner. With skyrocketing vehicle fuel prices, Highland holidays are becoming ever more expensive by the day, and some people will inevitably be thinking twice before heading north.

We must hope that things improve soon and that last-minute bookings flood in, but will that be enough? Governments can and must do all they can to alleviate the situation, stave off a recession and get the economy back on track. But as citizens we must play our own parts too, keeping the beating hearts of our communities – small, independent businesses – alive by spending our money locally.


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