JacTravel, Scotland’s largest incoming tour operator, reveals that Edinburgh, Stirling and North Ayrshire are likely to benefit from tourism displacement caused by the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the summer of 2014. However the picture is mixed.
JacTravel, which brings numerous groups of leisure tourists to Scotland each summer is having to find alternatives to Glasgow and is seeking substitute accommodation within an hour’s drive of the city instead – typically in North Ayrshire, Stirling or Edinburgh. JacTravel reports that 47% of its group bookings for 2014, amounting to thousands of room nights, will exclude Glasgow during the Games. This year, JacTravel will book over 350,000 room nights in Scotland, of which 6,000 will be in Glasgow in July and August.
The scenario creates an encouraging outlook for larger hotels in Central Scotland next summer, as demand from groups will be increased but that’s not the full picture. JacTravel is predicting a 25% decline in bookings from individual travellers to Glasgow (known in the trade as FIT) during July and August, on the basis that good-quality, city-centre accommodation will be less easy to find at an attractive price and many individual tourists will prefer not to come rather than to stay out of town.
Asked whether hosting the Commonwealth Games would be good for the Scottish Hotel industry as a whole, JacTravel’s President and Chief Commercial Officer, Mario Bodini, replied: “The Commonwealth Games offers a fantastic opportunity for the Scottish hotel industry to showcase itself but there are two critical caveats. First, hoteliers need to ensure their hotels are in tip top condition and their staff are fired up to deliver the best possible service. Second, hoteliers need to look after their regular customers with availability and realistic rates. Fortunately, many hoteliers have learnt from the London Olympics and are keeping prices sensible. The challenge now is to persuade the Games organisers not to sit on any space they don’t need.”