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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 04/03/2021

Scotland’s Event Industry Advisory Group is calling for greater clarity to allow the sector to plan for the return of events ahead of the Scottish Government’s update to its Strategic Framework for COVID-19.

During the latest meeting of the group on Tuesday 2 March members outlined the challenges the sector faces and the significant disadvantages Scotland’s event businesses are facing following the publication of indicative dates for the resumption of events in England by the UK Government.

The group has now agreed to raise the issue in a letter to the First Minister highlighting the need for further clarity and adjustment to the levels criteria in advance of the planned publication of the Scottish Government’s updated Strategic Framework week beginning 15 March.

Members of the EIAG also endorsed a suggestion to establish a Local Authority Reference Group to meet following the publication of updated event guidance to discuss interpretation of the guidance across different local authorities and event organisers as well as scenario planning.

In addition to discussion around the Strategic Framework review, the group also heard an update from VisitScotland on the rollout of a number of industry support funding streams, including the Pivotal Events Business Fund, which is now seeing businesses in receipt of funding as well as the second stage of the Event Industry Support Fund, which closed for applications on Friday 26 February. VisitScotland is now working through the applications to the fund with businesses to be notified in the coming weeks following assessment.

Scottish Government officials also outlined the positive initial impact and ongoing success of the vaccine rollout while a review of Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes in relation to event businesses was highlighted with a paper due to be submitted to the next EIAG for review.

It was also noted that engagement with the UK Government and the Department of Media Culture and Sport around requests to support cancellation insurance for event organisers had so far been unsuccessful but would continue.

The Event Industry Advisory Group continues to engage robustly and constructively during what is an extremely difficult time for the sector. The group recognises that the delivery of timely information and an ability to forward plan as effectively as possible is vital for the return of events in Scotland and it was pleasing to hear the group take a continued solutions-focussed approach in agreeing to raise with the First Minister ahead of the Strategic Framework review.

I have no doubt the ongoing work of the group will not only prove to be of benefit to the events and festivals sector in the short term as part of COVID-19 recovery but in the long term as we build Scotland back to a world-leading events destination.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland

The EIAG also welcomed two new members to further enhance representation across the events and festivals sector. Joining the group are Lisa Whytock, Director of Active Events and representative of the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Taskforce and Fiona Sturgeon Shea, incoming CEO of Federation of Scottish Theatre.

The date of the next meeting of the EIAG is on Wednesday 24 March. You can read further outputs from the group and representatives from the sector can raise any points for consideration by the group by emailing