With the lifting of some Covid-19 restrictions we are all now able to enjoy some form of normality from inviting friends and family into our homes to enjoying an evening out in a restaurant or bar.
Holiday accommodation is now open, albeit with some restrictions, and many people are looking forward to enjoying some time away to relax. With international travel restrictions and the fear of changeable quarantine rules, many people are looking at staycations for this summer and the Highlands is proving to be a popular destination. Most accommodation providers are looking forward to welcoming guests back and hope that they will be able to salvage something from what has been a disastrous 18 months for tourism. If you are planning a holiday away there are many ways that you can help the businesses that you are staying with.
Many accommodation providers use online travel agencies such as Booking.com and Airbnb to promote their businesses, as their large marketing budgets reach a wide audience. However, many people do not realise the large amount of commission that they charge the owners ranging from 12 to 20% of the rental charge. Many providers often add the commission charge onto their base price, so you may find that a cheaper price is available to you when booking direct and the owners will receive 100% of the rental charge.
Avoid double booking:
Currently with the uncertainty of overseas travel many people are using the free cancellation that many accommodation providers are offering, to double book two types of accommodation, maybe one in the UK and the other abroad. The aim is that if overseas travel is allowed, they can cancel the other booking at the last minute. Sadly, this leaves the business owner with empty accommodation at the last minute which they may be unable to fill, and they may have already turned away other bookings for that date.
Use local services:
Whilst in an area, try and shop in local shops, buy from crofts or pick up some eggs from boxes on road edges rather than stocking up at a big supermarket. Book a meal at a local café or restaurant, most of these provide employment to local people and buy from local suppliers. Book a tour or an activity through a local provider, many are often family run and they have a huge local knowledge that they can share with you.
We love sharing our local area with visitors but please respect the area and act responsibly. Remember the tourism adage “leave no trace and take only photographs”. Collect up and take any rubbish away with you after your picnic, put it in a bin or if it’s full, take it with you until you find an empty one. Leaving bags of full rubbish encourages scavengers to tear open the bag and spread rubbish around and can risk wildlife eating or becoming entangled in it. Residents often spend many hours on litter picks around their area. Avoid using disposable BBQ’s or lighting open fires. Many areas, especially heather covered hills, are often tinder-dry and a flame spark or even discarded ash can cause terrible wildfires. Many of firefighters are volunteers and must spend many hours away from their businesses to deal with avoidable fires. Always follow the Access Code and Wild Camping rules when you go off the beaten track, and have right equipment to deal with human waste. If you are touring, make sure you understand the rules for driving on single track roads, let faster traffic pass you, as locals maybe travelling for work or appointments. Park responsibly, passing places are not for parking. Avoid blocking access tracks, parking on rare machair on beach dunes or ancient monuments sites, and make use of the many campsites in the area to empty waste and refill water tanks.
Follow these simple suggestions and you will have a great holiday in a wonderful location and give tourism businesses a helping hand to survive this global pandemic.
by Tracey Smith, HOST Secretary
Last Updated on 10 June, 2021 by Kyle Chronicle