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Independence 'won't hit tourism'


A survey suggests that the Scottish tourism industry will not suffer if independence is voted through

A survey suggests that the Scottish tourism industry will not suffer if independence is voted through

A survey suggests that the Scottish tourism industry will not suffer if independence is voted through

The result of next month's independence referendum will not affect most tourists when considering whether to visit Scotland, a survey has suggested.

But travellers from England were more likely to say they would stay away from an independent Scotland than tourists from other nations.

The tourism market research firm LJ Research questioned almost 700 people who had holidayed in the UK recently - most of whom were international visitors - about there they would be more or less likely to come to an independent Scotland.

A total of 84% said the referendum decision would not affect this, with 11% stating they would be less likely to revisit the country if it left the UK and one in 20 (5%) saying independence would make them more inclined to holiday in Scotland.

But while 8.3% of overseas visitors said they would be less inclined to visit an independent Scotland, 17.1% of English people felt this way.

Sean Morgan, managing director of LJ Research, said: "These findings suggest that Scottish tourism businesses don't have to worry too much about the outcome of the referendum.

"That said, tourism businesses that have high exposure to English markets should tailor their marketing messages and operational services to ensure that those from south of the border are made to feel unequivocally welcome. "

He added that some respondents were "v ery concerned about border controls, visa requirements and currency exchange rates that may come with Scotland splitting up from the UK".

As a result, Mr Morgan said: "It is likely that Scotland's tourism industry will suffer if it cannot continue using Sterling as this factor will likely act as a barrier among inbound visitors' decision."

Scots were also asked about the impact they thought independence would have on tourism north of the border, with 60.3% of those surveyed of the view that a Yes vote in next month's referendum would not affect people's decision to visit Scotland, while nearly a quarter thought independence would help Scotland attract more tourists, and 9.5% said they believed leaving the UK would deter visitors.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Scotland's people are known around the world as being friendly and welcoming to all, as demonstrated so recently during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games - and that will continue to be the case whatever the country's constitutional future.

"A vote for an independent Scotland will put Scotland in the global spotlight like never before, and offer a huge opportunity to grow our tourism industry and income - and as this survey shows, residents of Scotland are 'optimistic about the potential impact of independence on tourism'.

"With independence we will be able to attract more international flights to and from Scotland by cutting Air Passenger Duty. An independent Scotland will also have powers to consider cutting VAT for tourism like other EU states have done - with 24 of the 28 offering a reduced VAT rate to their tourism sectors."

A spokesman for the pro-UK Better Together campaign said: " Being part of the UK is great for Scotland's tourism industry. The UK was the eighth largest tourist destination in the world, and Scotland takes advantage of the UK's extensive overseas links and connections.

"The report highlighted however that this success is down to our open borders, shared currency and free movement of people, products and services across the UK. Only separation puts that at risk.

"We don't have to risk the success of any of our industries to fulfil the political obsessions of Alex Salmond. We can have the best of both worlds for Scotland - a strong Scottish Parliament, with more powers guaranteed, backed up by the strength, security and stability of the UK by saying no thanks to separation on 18 September."