Call for Scottish tourism industry to ‘Care to Make a Difference’

A call for Scottish tourism and hospitality businesses to ‘Care to Make a Difference’ by ensuring their people come first to help them survive the current ‘perfect storm’ is launched today by high-profile industry members.

Green Tourism, the world leading sustainability accreditation and support programme, has launched the ‘Care to Make a Difference’ campaign, backed by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), Living Wage Scotland, Loch Melfort Hotel and the Achnagairn Estate.

In the new ‘Care to Make a Difference’ paper, leading industry figures explain how Scotland’s tourism and hospitality businesses can ride the current ‘perfect storm’ – including such challenges as the pandemic, spiralling energy and supply costs and staff shortages – by putting all their employees front and centre.

Andrea Nicholas, chief executive of Green Tourism, said: “Caring for people, for example by paying the real Living Wage and generally treating staff well, along with a long-term focus on sustainability, can make a massive difference to tourism and hospitality and help it ride the current storm.”

This call to action comes not long after the STA published figures stating one in three tourism and hospitality businesses are likely to fail in 2022.

Andrea Nicholas added: “We know how challenging it has been for everyone working in the hospitality and tourism sectors, no matter what position they hold. People are facing uncertainly around such things as employment and working hours and this can impact mental health. Everyone needs supported during the recovery of the industry and beyond.

“We’re calling on the industry across Scotland to come together to try to improve the situation for everyone. This is a industry that spends its life caring for its guests so we know how to make a positive impact.”

The call is for tourism and hospitality businesses to ‘Care to Make a Difference’ by:

  • Paying staff well – consider paying the real Living Wage which currently stands at £9.90 and become accredited by Living Wage Scotland
  • Offering security, flexibility and value-added benefits to employees e.g. long-term contracts; flexible working hours; time off to spend with family and friends
  • Offering mentoring and training to upskill the existing workforce
  • Focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of all colleagues
  • Taking a long-term approach to sustainability and ‘green’ matters to protect the world for future generations.

Andrea Nicholas explained: “Our tourism and hospitality sectors – which are vital parts of the wider economy – have endured two years of unprecedented challenges. They have had to contend with staff shortages and low employee retention, disrupted supply chains, spiralling energy costs, Covid-19 and Brexit.

“These issues have all come together to create a perfect storm for the tourism and hospitality sectors in Scotland, and across the UK. We need to take real action now by putting people first.”

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, believes that better caring for employees can help change perceptions of what it like to work in tourism.

He said: “Recruitment remains a major issue for the tourism and hospitality industry for a variety of reasons, including Covid-19 and Brexit, as well as perceptions of what it is like to work in the sector.

“The bottom line and harsh reality is there’s just not a big enough pool of people to fill all the roles we have in Scotland. Tourism is a sector that provides many great opportunities and has a variety of roles that require people with specific skill sets such chefs – becoming a chef isn’t something that can be taught in six weeks. We’re an international industry and we’re competing with other sectors that are looking for staff. There are many operators out there who are good at attracting and retaining their people, but we need more to be doing similar and treating their staff well – to Care to Make a Difference.”

Anna Hirvonen, Living Wage Scotland accreditation officer, said: “We continue to see the impact of Brexit and Covid on recruitment and retention of staff. Attracting new talent remains top of the industry’s priority list and the real Living Wage can play a key role in helping businesses aid their recovery.”

This call to action is led by Andrea Nicholas, chief executive of Green Tourism, and backed by:

  • Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance
  • Anna Hirvonen, Living Wage Scotland accreditation officer
  • Calum Ross, owner of Loch Melfort Hotel, Chair of UK Hospitality Scotland, board member of Scottish Tourism Alliance, Argyll & the Isles Tourism Co-operative, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards and a member of University of the Highlands & Islands Court.
  • Marina Huggett, chair of Achnagairn Estate, board of Hospitality Industry Trust, runs Tourism Excellence Consultancy, director of Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, vice chair on board of Visit Inverness Loch Ness.

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