OPTIMISM FELT LOCALLY BUT SPLIT VIEWS ON VISITORS

Sarah Medcraf Chamber News

A local survey which had over 500 respondents has highlighted some optimistic views of Moray’s general public. The ‘Reopening Moray’ survey ran by Moray Chamber of Commerce last month showed that 70% of respondents were happy to move in to Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s Route Map. Phase 2 allowed the return of some people to their workplace and planned for a phased opening approach for many other businesses.

Retailers are now in to their second week of being able to be open following over 3 months closed due to COVID-19. Interestingly, when asked, respondents ranked click and collect services, local delivery, and early/later opening times all of equal importance when being asked about their future purchasing habits. This is reflective of 64% being worried that they are not able to maintain physical distancing.

The survey asked if respondents were ready to welcome visitors back to Moray Speyside yet, especially as the tourism, leisure & hospitality sector has been hit very hard. Sarah Medcraf, CE of Moray Chamber of Commerce said: “The results for this question was so close, 52% aren’t ready to welcome visitors and 48% are. This is alarming for us as a region. Tourism is worth £135m annually to our economy and the sector employees 10% of Moray’s workforce. We also need to remember the supply chain around this, and the wider number of people impacted by tourism. Working in line with the Government advice, we need to encourage people to be able to welcome visitors to our region to help businesses catch what is left of the season. We all know when we go on holiday, people can make or break an experience – we certainly don’t want that to be the latter.”

Sarah Medcraf also advised that we need to work to support our local businesses and change our habits to help them survive.

The survey offered the opportunity for respondents to share any additional thoughts and grass cuttings, the reduction of the 2 metre rule and parking charges were noted amongst the other challenges that Moray faces over the coming months. Moray Chamber of Commerce has recently co-signed a letter with other business organisations in the region urging Moray Council to reconsider their decision on reinstating Elgin’s car parking charges from 1st August 2020.