In March 2020, we reconvened the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG). It had previously formed during crises such as the foot and mouth outbreak. We chaired the group.
||Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA)
||Scottish Enterprise (SE)
||Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)
|South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE)
||Skills Development Scotland (SDS)
Role of STERG
- coordinate the response of the key public agencies involved in tourism to COVID-19
- provide consistent and comprehensive data and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on Scottish tourism
- act as the single authoritative communications source for the Scottish tourism industry in relation to COVID-19
- support tourism businesses to recover from the pandemic
STERG also acted as a sounding board for the industry. It would take industry challenges and concerns to Scottish Government to support its decision making.
STERG was responsible for the development and delivery of the £25 million Scottish Government Tourism Recovery Programme. This provided the foundation and first phase support for a sustainable recovery of tourism industry in the medium to long term.
It included 10 key projects designed to support businesses and stimulate recovery. VisitScotland led on six of these projects:
- Destination and Sector Marketing Fund
- Visitor Management Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plans
- ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher Scheme
- Days Out incentive scheme
- International Demand Building
- Scottish Tourism Observatory
We also supported Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in delivering the Destination Net Zero programme. It aimed to make Scotland’s tourism industry more sustainable.
As part of the programme, we delivered the following funds:
- Days Out Incentive Fund
- Sustainability certification scheme fund
- Destination Sector Marketing Fund
Its achievements included:
- Supporting 73 destination organisations and sector groups with £4.5 million of funding. . Funding was used to develop campaigns to stimulate recovery
- Rolling out a tourism and hospitality talent development programme including:
- a national transition training fund programme
- head chef training
- mental health and wellbeing programme
- The Destination Net Zero project which has formed a robust evidence base to create a greener tourism sector
The group’s work also supported the recommendations of the Scottish Tourism Recovery Task Force. This was set up to look at what measures the Scottish and UK Governments could take to bolster recovery.
The collaboration succeeded in getting significant levels of financial help to the industry. This ensured that public money was targeted in the most effective way during the pandemic.
STERG stood down at the end of 2022. A Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group has been established to drive Scotland’s ambition to be a world leader in 21st century tourism.
All partners involved in STERG remain committed to providing advice and guidance for tourism businesses. This includes using our skills and resources to focus on work which reduces the impact of the current economic situation, stimulates demand and aids recovery.
In particular, the public sector agencies will continue to collaborate on the work to achieve net zero. Ensuring that tackling the climate change challenges remain a high priority.