On September 18th 2014, voters in Scotland will be asked to answer Yes or No to the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" The lead-up to the referendum represents a unique opportunity to experience Scotland in a way that may never be possible in the future; the torrent of haggis, Glenlivet, and Tennent that will inevitably pour from the inns, restaurants, and pubs during this exciting time could make Scotland the perfect destination for your late summer or early fall vacation. You may be wondering how the referendum and its result could affect your trip to Scotland, so let's look at some potential consequences should Scotland vote to become an independent country.
THERE MIGHT BE A NEW CURRENCY
In the event of a "Yes" vote, the Scottish government says the country would remain in a formal currency union with the rest of the UK. However, that just hasn't jived with the three main parties in Westminster ? the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have all ruled out the possibility of such a deal. Should Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom fail to reach a decision on a currency union, it is unlikely Scotland would opt to create its own currency but would likely adopt the euro. A single currency tends to benefit tourists and firms that trade within the Euro area, but perhaps the biggest benefit to tourists would be price transparency; tourists will be able to easily compare Scotland's prices to anywhere else in the Euro zone and make better decisions about what items to purchase in Scotland at a low price (such as Scotch Whisky!) compared to other places.
PRICES MAY GO UP (OR DOWN?)
According to the New Scottish National Party's (SNP) analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reached in March of 2014, Scotland's gross domestic product (GDP) is about £23,300 per person, about £2,300 higher than the UK. A higher average income means that prices could go up, from basic goods such as food, gasoline and rent, to luxury items such as alcohol, hotel reservations, and flights. Such an increase in GDP per head is a result of the massive oil reserves located in the North Sea, which will become exclusively Scotland's jurisdiction. Depending on how the government of Scotland opts to utilize this influx of cash could have repercussions for the travel industry, as well as public services and food and housing prices. With this influx of cash, Scotland could follow Ireland's model and make a serious investment in their tourist industry. By promoting tourist initiatives and supporting hospitality industries, Scotland has the potential to greatly expand its notoriety as a tourist destination, which could reduce prices for travelers.
NEW BUSINESS & TRAVELERS WILL COME TO SCOTLAND
If Scotland votes "Yes" to become an independent country; it will result in a new era of Scottish international relations. As the capital of an independent Scotland, travelers visiting Edinburgh would see a huge influx of domestic government workers, foreign diplomats, and businessmen as consulates and embassies would open and the process of building new connections between Scotland and other nations would begin in earnest. Should Scotland vote "Yes", the influx of travelers and capital to Scotland's cities will surely make it an exciting place to travel after the referendum, and while we won't know the direct consequences of the referendum until after some time has passed, surely the changes will in no way hamper your trip to Scotland, but make for a better experience overall!