TOURISM chiefs have described "as great news" the First Minister's statement setting out dates for their business activities to resume next month.

Responding to Nicola Sturgeon's announcement, which gave a firm date of July 3 for the reopening of self-catering accommodation and an indicative date of July 15 for hotels, Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said the development would be a "huge comfort" to thousands of companies in the sector.

"Much of our self-catering sector can start welcoming guests from July 3 – almost two weeks ahead of the now confirmed reopening date of July 15 which is great news," he said.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon announces indicative dates for lockdown easing

"Business who can provide outdoor hospitality will also be pleased to have a firm date for opening of July 6, as will those in the supply chain. The STA, along with our colleagues at the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to highlight the opportunity there is for certain sectors to open earlier and safely because of their very nature and I know many are ready now to do so."

He added: "This unlocks major components of our tourism sector and offers Scots the opportunity to plan summer experiences closer to home and boost our local economies. We are also delighted at the announcement that all accommodation and indoor hospitality can open from 15 July subject to guidance and restrictions and that our museums and monuments can also reopen from this date."

Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers chief executive, Fiona Campbell, said: "We are delighted that self-catering can welcome guests again from July 3, this news is fantastic and nothing short of a lifeline for our £723 million sector and for the many individuals and families who rely on it to support themselves.

“Scotland’s self-caterers were among the first to close our businesses as we entered lockdown, at great personal and financial cost, and now we’re poised to be among the first to help the Scottish tourist economy stand back up on its own two feet.”

“Our association has been working closely with the Scottish Government throughout this process and we are delighted that Ministers have listened to us.

“With our stringent, robust, and comprehensive cleaning protocols in place, which are backed by the Scottish Government, we can safely and securely open our properties and go back to providing our guests with first class breaks".

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “Further easing of lockdown measures will come as a relief to businesses across Scotland – particularly those in sectors that have been so significantly impacted.

“The publication of an indicative timetable for the re-opening of hospitality, leisure, and tourism businesses is hugely welcome and gives firms the opportunity to plan for reopening – while protecting staff and customers.

“While public health rightly remains the priority, the need for action to protect jobs and livelihoods remains urgent.”