While economic and political changes have been positioned as prominent issues of Scotland’s independence, the impact to the travel and tourism sector still remains unclear.
In a few hours, Scotland will wake to vote on one of the most pressing issues the country has faced in over 300 years – its independence.
The referendum, aimed to establish a breakaway from the United Kingdom, will drastically change the Scottish and British economic and political landscapes.
However the country’s travel sector, which equates to almost £11 billion in annual revenue, will also be affected.
Visas and border crossing
Scotland, as stands, is part of the United Kingdom’s Common Travel Area. That is, locals from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, can cross over borders with little to no identity documents.
This, according to pre-vote speculation, is not likely to change.
What could change, however, is the attitude of the international community to visit Scotland.
The “Better Together” camp, those that are voting in favour of remaining within the realm of the United Kingdom, question whether Britons would be inclined to travel to Scotland in the future. The pro-unity camp also feel that international travellers are more likely to visit the United Kingdom, rather than Scotland.
Nonetheless, the “yes” camp feel that a vote for independence will increase tourism revenue, as it would relieve the high taxes faced by those travelling to the UK. They also believe Scotland’s rich cultural heritage and picturesque landscape is more than enough to pique a traveller’s interest to visit an independent Scotland.
There is weight to their claim. Research conducted by LJ Research last month polled 700 recent UK visitors to gauge whether they would visit an independent Scotland. Eighty four per cent claimed that their decision would be largely unaffected by the referendum.
Entering the Eurozone
If locals rule in favour of separatism, Friday will usher in an 18-month period that will establish Scotland’s total independence which is scheduled to be complete in March 2016.
As part of the agenda, Scotland will be weighing its options to join the European Union.
While pre-vote speculation claims that the Common Travel Area will not be affected, accession into the EU will certainly alter cross-border travel.
Should Scotland join the Union, changes to national currency, visas and travel permissions will certainly change.
The newly-independent state would become part of the Euro-zone, making it easier for travellers within Europe to cross over to Scotland.
Though, travel for those within the commonwealth and other international regions may be faced with a different directive in arrangements.
Nonetheless, much like the outcome of today’s vote, the travel world can only assume the potential outcomes of an independent Scotland.
What do you think the impact on tourism to Scotland will be?
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