New research shows that many rural hospitality establishments, most notably rural bars and hotels, are suffering a significant reduction in trade since new drink driving laws were introduced at the end of last year. Some rural businesses have experienced a decline in alcohol sales by as much as 90 percent.
Whilst some establishments have taken to hiring courtesy vehicles to provide transportation for their punters, others have been unable to prevent a declining trade in alcohol sales and are currently feeling the pinch. The recent study shows that many are shunning alcohol at lunchtime and are instead turning to tea, coffee and soft drinks to accompany their meals.
Establishments in cities and large towns with good public transportation options have been affected little since the new legislation was enforced on December 5 last year. However, many rural businesses are lamenting the new laws and are worried that this summer tourist season is shaping up to be their worst season in several decades.
“We are fortunate that a significant volume of our bar trade is local, but we’re still seeing a five per cent drop in sales.” Says Stuart Hutton at the Priory Hotel in Beauly, Inverness. “The most significant change is in our restaurant with customers not choosing to have an alcoholic drink with their food. We have therefore had to introduce a courtesy ‘Dine & Wine Vehicle’ for our local guests to transport from their home to the hotel. Without this, I think sales would have dropped by more than fifteen percent.”
The results of the introduction of the new drink driving legislation are not all gloomy, however, as the latest statistics reveal a massive 17 percent reduction in drink driving offences between the months of January and March this year as compared to the same months last year.