TOURISM'S pounds 150m LOSS.
THE foot-and-mouth crisis has cost Scottish tourism over pounds 150million.
A study by visitscotland, formerly the Scottish Tourist Board, will reveal later this month that foot and mouth at its peak cost Scotland's biggest employer pounds 10million a week as 20 per cent of holidays to the country were cancelled.
And the devastating consequences of foot and mouth are still costing tourism more than pounds 5million a week.
The figures come after the Sunday Mirror revealed that the cost of the foot and mouth clear-up operation plus compensation to farmers had tipped pounds 100million.
Tourism employs 178,000 people - eight per cent of the workforce - in Scotland and is worth pounds 2.5billion a year. Wages paid are greater than in the oil, gas and whisky industries combined.
In the Highlands nearly one in five owes their living to tourism.
The report was compiled after researching confidential visitor numbers from Historic Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, area tourist boards and hotels.
A spokesman for visitscotland said: "We feel we are going to get a reasonably accurate picture of the real cost of foot and mouth on Scottish tourism."
Visitscotland is lobbying the Government for more money to try and win back foreign tourists, particularly Americans, frightened off by rumours confusing foot and mouth with BSE.
Meanwhile foot-and-mouth restrictions were finally lifted on two of Scotland's best-loved mountains. Hundreds of hillwalkers are expected to head for Ben Lomond and Ben Lawers, in the central Highlands.