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Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Fury at tourism minister's foreign holiday
visitscotland promotional sign
Scotland's tourist trade is suffering a major downturn
Scotland's tourism minister has beenaccused of being "grossly insensitive" by holidaying abroad while the foot-and-mouth crisis continues.

Alasdair Morrison left for a one-week break in Italy at the start of the Scottish parliamentary recess at the weekend.

Scottish National Party enterprise and lifelong learning spokesman Kenny MacAskill accused Mr Morrison of abandoning the Scottish tourism industry "in its hour of need".

He said: "Everyone is entitled to a holiday, but Alasdair Morrison is paid a ministerial salary to promote Scottish tourism and that is what he should be doing during the industry's hour of need."

Alasdair Morrison
Alasdair Morrison: Holidaying in Italy
Mr MacAskill added that he believed Scottish tourism workers would see Mr Morrison's actions as "grossly insensitive".

Mr Morrison went to the US with First Minister Henry McLeish last week to encourage overseas visitors to come to Scotland.

Scottish Conservative tourism spokesman David Davidson said: "Many will view it as a bit rich for the tourism minister to tell everyone else to holiday at home, only to holiday abroad himself.

"You also have to wonder why he wasn't open about the trip to Italy during the most recent tourism debate."

But a Scottish Executive spokeswoman defended the minister's decision, explaining that he would be holidaying in Scotland later this year.

She said: "Alasdair Morrison has had a holiday booked in Italy since the beginning of the year.

"He will also be taking a holiday in the second week of the recess.

"Alasdair is planning a summer holiday in Dumfries and Galloway and the Isle of Skye, as mentioned in the tourism debate on April 5."

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06 Apr 01 | Scotland
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