Travel businesses across the north of Scotland have backed a nationwide campaign urging the UK Government to overturn its planned 14 day quarantine for arrivals.
Major hotels, travel companies and restaurateurs have claimed the policy is “unworkable” and have endorsed a letter sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel.
The businesses are calling for air bridges to be created to enable people to travel without being quarantined between countries where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low.
The government’s current plans would mean all international arrivals – apart from people carrying out a limited number of specified roles – would need to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8.
Munro’s Travel managing director Murray Burnett wants the government to look at introducing air bridges to help business travellers during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Aberdeen firm has been a major player in the region’s business travel market for more than a century.
Mr Burnett said: “Whilst I appreciate and fully support the government’s necessity to suppress the virus and control our borders, I would ask them to seriously consider the introduction of air bridges with countries which can also demonstrate a low infection rate.
“With the social distancing measures introduced by the airlines and airports alike, the need for an enforced 14 day quarantine for the business traveller entering the UK will undoubtedly stifle the economic recovery from the pandemic.”
While in Inverness, Highlands Tours’ Dougie Macleod has backed the campaign which is being led by tour operator Red Savannah to oppose the government measures.
Mr Macleod provides day tours to tourists wanting to visit places such as Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield.
He added: “I really don’t think the quarantine is going to work and I don’t know what it is going to be like once Inverness airport opens up again.
“Without a doubt I want the government to look at other options.
“There is a lot of things to think before people are coming in from Europe and further a field.”
Meanwhile a recent survey has revealed that two-thirds of businesses on the North Coast 500 route are ready to reopen as soon as they are given the green light by the Scottish Government.
Around 186 firms from the Highland route covering Inverness-shire, the Black Isle, Easter Ross, Wester Ross, Sutherland and Caithness responded to the survey which found 67% anticipate reopening in 2020.
It also found a further 18% hope to reopen in 2021 while the remaining 15% said they were unlikely to reopen.
NC500 chairman Tony Campbell said it was “clear” the majority of members wanted to see a cautious reopening of north Highland tourism this summer and look forward to welcoming visitors from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.