Borders hotel boss slams 'abhorrent' reopening date

The reopening date for hotels in Scotland has been slammed as "abhorrent" by the Chair of the Scottish Tourism Alliance. 

Stephen Leckie, who is also CEO of Crieff Hydro Group, told Representing Border the business is losing around £20,000 every day, with the Peebles Hydro costing £7,000 per day alone.

The group has already had to borrow money, and make redundancies.

Mr Leckie had been expecting hotels to reopen in March, and said the business will now miss out on £500,000 of bookings lined up from mid-March to the end of the month, and a further £2m in April.

This afternoon Nicola Sturgeon set out more details of how Scotland will gradually leave lockdown, with a phased reopening of sectors like hospitality from the 26th of April. 

Speaking before the First Minister's announcement, Mr Leckie told Representing Border:

"The date that we can open is really critical to this industry, in terms of survival. The sooner we can open we can ameliorate our losses, and start to trade again. So for us the thought of a May opening, or later, is abhorrent for us."

New cocktail chocolate bars at Cocoa Black Credit: ITV Border

Other businesses that rely on the tourism industry are also concerned, but say they can now see light at the end of the tunnel.

Tourists used to take part in chocolate workshops at Cocoa Black, in Peebles.

Having closed their school and gift shop, the businesses is now prioritising developing new products, and selling chocolate online. 

Ruth Hinks, the company Director, told us:

"It's changed dramatically through lockdown. I used to run 3, 4, sometimes 5 or 6 classes a week, and our shop in Peebles was always extremely busy. There have been many sleepless nights, as to how Cocoa Black was going to get through. I hope that once the restrictions have been lifted, we will return to some form of normality. I think with staycations, when people are allowed to travel again, we will bounce back."