Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing (pictured), visits to see safety measures in place
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, visited the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness as it re-opened its doors to guests as lockdown restrictions lifted.
The MSP for Inverness and Nairn was given a brief tour of the hotel by owner, Tony Story and Operations Director, Craig Ewan, to see the preparations put in place to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
The hotel, and its 5-star sister property, Ness Walk, have been closed since lockdown came into force in March.
During that time, the hotel group has invested heavily in safety measures and procedures to ensure the very highest possible levels of hygiene.
Hospital grade treatments have been applied throughout all areas of the hotel, and following treatment, rooms will be sealed for guests’ arrival.
All public areas have robust cleaning schedules and Perspex screening and social distancing are in place.
The new procedures form the “Safely Sound” programme, and each step has been assessed and accredited by several third parties.
Both hotels are now registered with the national programme of “Good to Go”, Safer Space, and the AA Covid Confident programme.
The arrival process will also be quite different to what guests are used to.
To reduce direct contact, guests will be invited to check in prior to arrival.
They will then be met as they arrive in the car park and given their welcome pack, containing their key card and a face mask.
Tony Story, CEO of the Kingsmills Hotel Group, said:
“The hotel industry has very quickly had to adapt to the current situation, and we were delighted to showcase our measures to Mr Ewing.
“So far, demand has been slow but steady and we expect this to be the trend over the summer months, as people start to feel more comfortable with travel.
“International visitors generate a large part of our income, but we expect to see very few this year which is obviously going to have a significant impact in the short term.
“We have, however, already taken bookings from overseas guests for 2021 which is promising.
“There is no doubt we will lose more money opening than if we stay closed and tough times lie ahead, but we need to get the hotel open and people back staying with us.
“It’s great to welcome the team back to work and although things aren’t fully back to normal, the team has taken well to the new measures and look forward to welcoming guests.
“Inverness and the Highlands is the perfect spot for a staycation.
“With so many beautiful wide-open spaces to explore, people can socially distance without too much effort and we’d urge Scots to consider supporting our local economy by planning a trip.”
Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“The Scottish Government has worked closely with stakeholders on guidance for restarting the sector safely and it’s been very encouraging to see this in action today at the Kingsmills Hotel.
“They have adopted some very innovative measures to ensure their employees are protected and that visitors can have full confidence in their stays.
“Our tourism industry is world leading and I hope seeing the efforts the sector has gone to will encourage many people to book staycations and enjoy the best that we have to offer in Scotland.”