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The BBC's Elizabeth Quigley reports
"The details are still being finalised at the moment"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Tourism industry to receive cash boost
Scottish countryside
Tourism chiefs are still encouraging visitors
A series of measures to help the tourism industry during the foot-and-mouth crisis has been agreed by the Scottish Cabinet.

The industry had called for an 11m package of measures to help it survive and recover from the foot-and-mouth crisis.

It is estimated the outbreak will cost tourism more than a 100m in the first six months of the year.

Scotland's Tourism Minister Alasdair Morrison faced industry leaders at a special summit to discuss what measures should be taken.

Details of the package will not be disclosed until an announcement is made in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

Scottish tourism centre
The industry is seeking assistance

However, it is understood the cabinet has agreed to measures including a business rates relief scheme, extra support for businesses through the enterprise networks and cash help for the tourism industry.

Mr Morrison, who is a member of the UK Government task force on foot-and-mouth, has already met banks to persuade them to look sympathetically on farms and small businesses which may be hit by the disease.

There is particular concern that rural businesses and those dependent on tourism may not have the funds to survive the crisis.

The Scottish Tourist Board said there is a feeling of desperation among many small rural businesses who are already struggling after a couple of difficult years of unfavourable trading conditions.

The tourism body - now known as visitscotland.com - has appointed the former managing director of Gleneagles Hotel Peter Lederer as its new chairman.

Tourism officials are believed to have used the meeting with the minister to convey frustration with the image of Scotland being closed for business - which they say is simply untrue.

Rescue measures already announced for England and Wales included rate relief for businesses worst affected and Scottish companies want similar help.

Anxious wait

A recovery plan developed by the tourist board also called for more money for marketing.

The tourist board has been trying to rekindle interest in the countryside through two websites.

It wants potential visitors to know that many traditional activities are still taking place, despite the foot-and-mouth crisis.

A spokesman said the organisation is anxious to ensure that tourism is not killed off by efforts to save agriculture.

The visitscotland.com website carries information for the public, while scotexchange.net site informs the tourist industry of the impact of the outbreak.

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