Tourists fuel an expansion of Highland pubs

08/01/2019

Pubs in the Highlands appeared to be bucking a UK-wide trend of pub and bar closures.

Since 2008, almost a quarter of pubs in the UK have shut according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis.

But the study shows that in the Highlands there are 14% more pubs than there were 10 years ago.

Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said a major factor behind the growth was that the pubs had done well catering for tourists.

Tourism is the Highland region's most important industry and supports 25,000 jobs.

Provisional figures for last year suggest almost 6.5 million visitors came to the area.

George Callum who runs The Allangrange Arms in Munlochy on the Black Isle for the last five years, said business could be tough for rural Highland pubs outside the tourism season.

He said: "Christmas is good but in the months between October to probably March most businesses are closed, or are struggling to keep afloat because of the lack of numbers."

Mr Callum said his pub was one of the "lucky ones" in being able to get business from local customers and, in the tourist season, from visitors.

His pub puts on steak nights, karaoke and live music to attract customers.

But he said he could understand why traditional pub-going had declined.

"We are in an age of uncertainty," he said, adding: "And if you are young family it is economically better to sit and drink at home because you are going to get more for your pound."

 

Adapted from BBC Scotlabd website https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-46795114

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