BASC has told the BBC a firearms ban by German airline Lufthansa could hit Scotland’s £155 million sporting tourism industry.
Speaking on BBC Scotland, Dr Colin Shedden said the ban on passengers travelling into Scottish airports with firearms had so far impacted most on people travelling to Scotland for the lucrative stag season.
Dr Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “Our concern is that if Lufthansa can bring in a policy decision like this based on no fact and no good reason other airlines could follow suit and that would then have a massive impact on the fieldsports tourism industry.”
He told listeners that sporting tourism – fishing, hunting and deer stalking – was worth £155 million a year to Scotland and the country has a “wonderful reputation as a world class hunting destination”.
“We are concerned that this could be damaged by actions by airlines like Lufthansa implying that you can’t come with a rifle,” he added.
“For now it appears to be only one airline and a couple of their subsidiaries and we are doing all that we can to prevent this and to get back to the status quo that we have had in the past.”
Dr Shedden said Lufthansa appeared to be blaming Scottish legislation, UK firearms legislation and some difficulties that they have experienced at airports.
BASC is liaising with the government and the police to resolve the issue.
Dr Shedden said that the Scottish Government and Police Scotland were “very supportive” and had pointed out that there were no restrictions in place and that Scotland was “basically open for business as it always has been”.
He concluded: “Most golfers would rather use their own golf clubs, the same as most hunters would rather use their own shotguns or rifles. It could affect this tourism industry – hunters choosing alterative destinations where they feel they can take their own firearms.”
The full interview can be heard here, about 56 minutes in.