Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 11:42 UK

Bride and gloom of global crisis

Wedding cake figures
Weddings are being postponed according to a leading hotelier

Couples are putting off their big days until later as a result of the credit crunch, a leading hotelier has said.

Craig Ewan, of the Kingsmills in Inverness and chairman of the city's hotels association, said some weddings have been postponed or cancelled.

However, he said hotels have been targeting new markets in China and tour parties from India have been arriving.

Meanwhile, Inverness-based economist Tony Mackay said there had been a large rise in unemployment in the Highlands.

Mr Ewan told BBC Scotland there had been some indications in certain markets that the global financial crisis was being felt in the north.

He said: "For example, in the weddings market we have had some cancellations of weddings for next year, or some couples wanting to postpone their wedding until the year after.

"I think that is a sign of the confidence, or a lack of confidence, they have perhaps of fulfilling that dream."

'Large rise'

Mr Mackay also said there was a worrying change beginning to appear in the region.

He said: "The latest unemployment figures for the Highlands and Islands show a very large rise, which at this time of year is unusual.

"That suggests it's starting to affect the tourism industry and the retail industry."

Meanwhile, Inverness Caledonian Thistle's captain Grant Munro has told of his relief at having a job in the current situation after signing a new two-year contract.

He said: "You look at the way things are going in the world at the moment and it's not really healthy, so having the security of a couple of years is great when other people are getting unemployed."


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