MPs call for talks on grading scheme

MPs call for talks on grading scheme

AREPORTon Scottish tourism by Westminster MPs has called for fresh talks about a nationwide accommodation grading scheme.

The Scottish affairs committee, which has spent 18 months studying tourism north of the border, recommended the Government consult all the national tourism boards again about setting up a unified scheme.

Attempts to create a nationwide system broke down at the start of 1997, because the Scottish Tourist Board and Wales Tourist Board wanted the emphasis to be placed on the quality of accommodation, while the English Tourist Board, AA and RAC wanted it to be placed on facilities. Since then, separate schemes have been set up in Scotland, Wales and England.

An STB spokeswoman said: "We are keen on the idea of a unified scheme, but at the same time we want to work with the standards we operate under, which are based on quality rather than facilities."

She said the STB was willing to look at a separate recommendation by the committee for a compulsory accommodation registration scheme to enforce basic standards.

However, she pointed out that 90% of Scottish accommodation providers were signed up to its voluntary grading scheme already.

Meanwhile, the Scottish affairs committee urged the STB to put pressure on hoteliers and bed-and-breakfast owners to set fairer, more transparent prices. It is concerned that quoted rates often omit single occupancy supplements.

Its report also backed proposals by the STB to fund area tourist boards in Scotland directly.

The STB spokeswoman said: "At the moment the ATB's funding is not secured. A proportion of its money comes from local authorities, and it changes each year."


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