Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley tourism and events sector is facing its toughest test yet because of lockdown according to VisitScotland.

Glasgow was expecting to host Euro2020 matches at Hamden this summer and the UN climate change conference COP26 later in the year adding to the 2 million visitors expected annually.

Jim Clarkson, regional leadership director of VisitScotland, has spoken out about the impact coronavirus is having on the industry across and how the organisation is supporting businesses during the current crisis and in the future as lockdown restrictions ease.

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He said: “This was supposed to be a bumper year for Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley, but instead our tourism and events sectors have already written off the second quarter of the year to lost income.

“We should have been putting Scotland on the map once again as proud hosts of the Euro2020 matches at Hampden and the UN climate change conference COP26. The economic impact and profile would have been felt right across the area.

“Around 2 million visitors spend as much as half a billion pounds in a year here, it is a key part of our economy and supports many jobs and supply chains. We can look forward to a great calendar of festivals and events at some point, but our businesses and operators need support now.”

Since mid-March, VisitScotland has chaired The Scottish Emergency Tourism Response Group bringing together leading strategic organisations responsible for tourism, events and economic development to work on a single, joined-up, phased National Action Plan.

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Their local teams have been supporting tourism businesses during this difficult time offering one to one business support and guidance and feeding their concerns back to the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing and The Scottish Government.

Mr Clarkson added: “As the lockdown measures ease, we will continue to support businesses and help the tourism industry across Glasgow and the Clyde Valley become an economic and cultural powerhouse again.

“This is at the heart of everything we do. This awful virus has been causing all kinds of damage. But it cannot destroy our ingenuity, creativity and spirit.”