23 March 2001
Suffering for the country cottage business
I AM a farmer with self-catering cottages. I am also chairman of the association of Scotlands self-caterers – some 300+ members with 1500-odd properties throughout Scotland.
I am getting reports of massive losses, cancellations, nervous booked visitors and of enquiries for the rest of the season simply drying up.
The countryside is closed, and the image of the UK abroad is extremely damaging.
Images of piles of burning cows have been flashed worldwide. On top of this, North Americans seem to have become confused between foot-and-mouth and BSE and are convinced that they will be infected with nvCJD as soon as they get off the plane in the UK.
This is going to take a lot of undoing, and just when tourism was looking as if it was going to turn the corner this year.
Compensation? I do not think so, somehow – we will have to wait in the queue behind the hauliers, mart staff, and the rest of the growing list.
Assistance? Well, possibly, but it is too early to say.
Hard times for us all.