Inverness Courier

Four in 10 Highland tourism businesses are struggling to generate sales and profits in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic according to a new survey.

The study by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also finds that half are understaffed while a quarter are worried about their ability to survive, with one in 10 saying they are barely managing to stay afloat.

An eagerly-anticipated staycation boom did not take place as soon as travel restrictions were lifted according to most respondents.

The survey, conducted between May 25 and June 4, focused on tourism and hospitality businesses within the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) area and produced 290 responses.

FSB Highlands and Islands development manager David Richardson said it painted a worrying picture.

“While the ambition has always been for the Highlands and Islands to have a truly mixed economy, the fact is that most of this vast region is dependent, directly and indirectly, on tourism,” he said.