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Summary

  1. The health committee begins its inquiry into hospital safety
  2. MSPs ask topical questions on Scottish government reassurance to communities in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack
  3. Finance Secretary Derek Mackay responds to the UK spring statement from the UK government
  4. Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey delivers a statement on the review of mental health and incapacity legislation
  5. MSPs debate the Damages Bill for the final time
  6. Scottish Tourism Month 2019 is marked by MSPs

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Emma Gordon

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live!

    Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
    Image caption: Finance Secretary Derek Mackay

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 19 March 2019, a very busy day!

    • Finance Secretary Derek Mackay accused the Treasury of "ripping off" Scotland as UK ministers seek a Brexit deal, when responding to the the spring statement.
    The legislation underpinning mental health care in Scotland dates back to 2003
    • Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey announced a review of Scotland's mental health legislation
    Hospital infection rates are being investigated by a Holyrood committee
    Image caption: Hospital infection rates are being investigated by a Holyrood committee
    • Earlier the health committee was told communications between infection control nurses and maintenance staff at a Glasgow hospital hit by a series of outbreaks were "not particularly great".
    Labour MSP Anas Sarwar
    Image caption: Labour MSP Anas Sarwar
    • Labour MSP Anas Sarwar called on the Scottish government to create a fund for security at places of worship following the terror attack at two mosques in Christchurch.
  2. Industry is fragile and hard work must continue

    Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop
    Image caption: Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop

    Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop welcomes the passion of MSPs for the industry, but warns it is fragile.

    Brexit will affect recruitment, warns the minister.

    She highlights the Clan Fund and Rural Communities Fund.

    It's going to be a hard year for Scotland, Ms Hyslop concludes, but we remain an open and welcoming nation.

  3. Background: Movie tourists boost Scottish castle visitor numbers

    Linlithgow Palace and St Michael's Kirk

    Movie tourists helped Scotland's castles enjoy a boost in visitor numbers, new figures suggest.

    Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said more people were visiting after Scotland was used as a location in films such as Mary Queen of Scots.

    Fans of the TV shows Outlander and Outlaw King also boosted numbers.

    Doune Castle near Stirling - which featured as Castle Leoch in Outlander - saw a 14% increase in footfall after 142,091 people visited last year.

    Read more here

  4. Background: Outlander author gets award for boost to Scottish tourism

    Diana Gabaldon

    Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has received an award for boosting Scottish tourism through her fantasy saga.

    The US writer, 67, received an International Contribution to Scottish Tourism award at the Scottish Thistle awards.

    It comes as VisitScotland published a paper detailing how sites used in the TV adaptation have seen visitors soar.

    The report says that set-jetting is a growing trend in Scotland, partly due to the "Outlander Effect".

    Read more here

  5. Background: Edinburgh 'tourist tax' backed by council

    Councillors in Edinburgh have voted in favour of a "tourist tax", which could become the first of its kind in the UK.

    However, the new tax will not come into effect until the Scottish Parliament has passed enabling legislation, which is unlikely to happen before next year.

    Edinburgh's transient visitor levy (TVL) proposals include a £2-per-night charge added to the price of any room for the first week of a stay.

    It would apply to all accommodation, including Airbnb-style short-term lets.

    Read more here

    Edinburgh Fringe
  6. 'I can confirm tourism in Orkney is on the up'

    Liam McArthur

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur points out Orkney is expected to have 164 cruise liners visiting, making him quietly confident it will beat Stuart McMillan's constituency.

    "I can confirm tourism in Orkney is on the up," he continues, adding the sector brought in £50m in 2017.

    He details the awards and reviews that show Orkney is a quality destination.

    The Lib Dem MSP wishes all those working in the tourism sector a good 2019.

  7. Background: What is the Scottish Tourism Alliance?

    Scottish Tourism Alliance

    The Scottish Tourism Alliance is the largest member organisation for tourism businesses in Scotland and the leading representative body for its tourism industry.

    Their aim is to shape a vibrant tourism industry for Scotland's visitors and people and influence the creation of industry-friendly policy through evidence to enable Scotland's tourism industry to reach its growth potential.

  8. Background: Legislation to allow councils to set local 'tourism tax' part of budget deal

    Derek Mackay and Patrick Harvie

    The Scottish government's budget was passed a after the SNP struck a deal with the Greens.

    Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said he was "pleased to have reached an agreement" minutes before the Holyrood budget debate was due to begin.

    The deal included:

    • Legislation to allow councils to set a local "tourism tax"
    • more core funding for councils
    • power for councils to set a levy on workplace car parking spaces
  9. Harvie: We must recognise bad practice

    Patrick Harvie

    Green co-convener Patrick Harvie praises new tourist attractions as well as old ones.

    He points to some challenges facing the tourism industry, including bad practice in some accommodation, particularly in Edinburgh.

    The Glasgow MSP says short-term letting businesses could affect communities detrimentally.

    Local councils must be given more powers to raise revenue, he says, in order to reinvest the money into local services.

    He also warns about the potentially negative impacts of tourism, including unnecessary short haul flights impacting on the climate.

  10. Labour MSP highlights the forthcoming 2020 Year of Coasts and Water

    Labour MSP Claire Baker
    Image caption: Labour MSP Claire Baker

    Labour MSP Claire Baker insists tourism is important to Scotland's economy with tourists generating £12bn of economic activity.

    There has been significant increases in tourists coming from the EU, she says.

    The Labour MSP highlights the forthcoming 2020 Year of Coasts and Water.

    2020 has been designated Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, a year that will spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our its visitors.

    She says Scotland is doing well in the tourism sector, but warns it is a competitive market and goes on to highlight the 'Outlander effect'.

  11. Background: Top Scottish visitor attractions revealed

    Museum of Scotland

    Six Scottish attractions have reported visitor numbers in excess of one million last year.

    The most popular - the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle - each saw more than two million visits.

    The other sites reporting at least one million visitors were the Scottish National Gallery, St Giles' Cathedral, Glasgow's Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

    The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions compiled the figures.

    Read more here

  12. Clan gatherings praised by Tories

    Alexander Burnett

    The Conservatives applaud the recent rise in tourist numbers to Scotland.

    MSP Alexander Burnett says he's involved in a number of tourism businesses, and the Burnett clan gatherings are growing too.

    He says such events are another contribution to the Scottish economy.

    Mr Burnett also points to an extension of Aberdeen Harbour, which will allow bigger ships to dock there.

  13. Background: Why are tourists flocking to Scotland?

    Tourism

    For the sixth year running, Scotland has outperformed the rest of the UK in attracting visitors to its tourist attractions.

    Edinburgh is the top UK destination outside London - but the whole country is benefiting from a tourism renaissance. So why is Scotland punching above its weight?

    Read more here

  14. 'Westminster is committing criminal damage against Scottish tourism'

    SNP MSP Stuart McMillan
    Image caption: SNP MSP Stuart McMillan

    Mr McMillan insists our country has tourism opportunities in abundance.

    "It truly has something for everyone," adds the SNP MSP.

    He warmly welcomes the Scottish Tourism Month 2019 and praises the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

    "Westminster is committing criminal damage against Scottish tourism," says Mr McMillan, citing cheap flights and package holidays abroad.

    On a happier note he wishes Visit Scotland a happy 50th birthday.

    View more on twitter
  15. Today's member's debate: Scottish Tourism Month 2019

    Skye

    SNP MSP Stuart McMillan leads a debate on Scottish Tourism Month 2019.

    The Greenock and Inverclyde member wishes to celebrate the good work that is already being done within the industry, and to acknowledge that even more could be achieved by networking during March.

  16. Closing speeches.......

    Labour MSP Daniel Johnson insists there must be a regime where people are disadvantaged and the fact the government may have been overgenerous is possibly a good sign.

    Labour MSP Daniel Johnson

    Tory MSP Dean Lockhart welcomes the additional clarity and transparency the bill brings.

    Tory MSP Dean Lockhart
    Image caption: Tory MSP Dean Lockhart

    Community Safety Minister Ash Denham concludes calling on MSPs to back the Damages (Investment Returns and Periodical Payments)(Scotland) Bill.

    Community Safety Minister Ash Denham
    Image caption: Community Safety Minister Ash Denham