A TOURISM chief has slammed selfish daytrippers who travelled to beauty spots such as Loch Lomond - ignoring social distancing and trashing scenic areas.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, laid into drunken louts who ignored the lockdown and left rubbish strewn on beaches, and others who ignored the five-mile rule central to phase one of Scotland's easing of restrictions to cause massive traffic jams.

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Beauty spots such as Loch Lomond, in Argyll and Bute, and Glencoe, Scottish Highlands, were mobbed with visitors who behaved 'terribly', making life miserable for locals.

Writing on his blog, Mr Roughead backed first minister Nicola Sturgeon's threat to entrench the five-mile rule in law, if it was not observed.

And he begged the public not to set the country back in the fight against coronavirus by behaving in a way which would fuel the spread of the killer bug.

Mr Roughhead said: “Scenes of rubbish strewn parks and beaches, drunken behaviour, traffic jams and very little thought about social distancing did not showcase the Scotland we want to live in and promote.

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“Everyone was told not to drive to beauty spots because no facilities were open, including toilets and car parks.

“So, people parked on verges and made life unpleasant for the local community - just what tourism didn’t need.

“We want tourism businesses to open up and the industry to get back to normal as soon as possible but we also don’t want to add to the number of people getting this disease.

“It’s a real dilemma for the many tourism businesses devastated by lockdown who need to be able to open quickly to get some summer income.

“We keep asking for dates from the government to help us restart our lives, but the reality is that none of this will happen if we don’t continue to follow the science.

“This minority will continue to be a problem, but I did want to remind everyone that the visitor is not the enemy.

“It’s not just economic, taking a trip helps with people’s well-being and mental health and we’ll all need that after this lockdown ends.

“Tourism sustains many rural economies tackling issues like depopulation and brings entrepreneurial talent to life in Scotland.

“Without the tourism businesses, the florists, local craft shops or pubs would not thrive.

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“Communities will not welcome back visitors if people don’t understand that locals living in these towns and villages deserve to be treated with respect."

And Argyll and Bute Council, which had kept car parks and public toilets closed in a bid to deter visitors, reminded people that 'ignoring advice' would keep the country locked down for longer.

Robin Currie, convenor of roads and infrastructure, said: “It is disappointing that some people chose to ignore national advice and clearly travelled more than five miles to visit.

“We cannot be complacent whilst the risk of infection remains.

"The reckless actions of a few may impact us all.

“Ignoring advice to stay local will simply delay our recovery and have a further impact on the economy.

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“We understand that people are desperate to enjoy being outdoors but we still need to exercise caution and help protect our rural communities.

“Our car parks and toilets remain closed so please think very carefully before making a journey.

“Our local economy depends on the tourism industry and we are just as keen as everyone to welcome people back to the area, but only when it is safe.”