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Article published 24/03/2021

Supporting the sector to rebuild

Holiday vouchers, discounts for days out and a marketing fund are included in a new £25 million tourism recovery programme.

Speaking at the Scottish Tourism Alliance conference, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the funding to support the sector’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The programme, which has been developed by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in partnership with businesses, will support the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce objectives.

The recovery programme includes

  • a holiday voucher scheme to create a more socially sustainable and inclusive tourism industry 
  • a days out incentive scheme to support areas such as attractions, tours, activities and experiences
  • a talent development and leadership programme for tourism and hospitality staff
  • a Net Zero Pathway to make Scotland’s tourism industry more green and sustainable
  • a marketing fund to support organisations to promote their destination or sector when domestic travel is able to resume

It’s been an incredibly difficult year for all businesses, but I don’t underestimate the acute challenges our tourism and hospitality sectors have faced.

We’ve provided an unprecedented amount of funding for the sector, including over £129 million in business support and an extension of rates relief for 2021/22. But as the vaccine roll-out continues, and the lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we know more is needed to help tourism and hospitality businesses get firmly back on their feet.

This is short term recovery funding to support the industry for the next six months to two years as we move back towards some form of normality, and it ensures we can achieve the objectives of the taskforce.

I set out a vision for Scotland to be a leader in 21st century tourism when I announced Scotland Outlook 2030 at this very conference last year. I am confident, that by working in partnership, we can still achieve this vision.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister

This funding will help the industry take the first steps to recovery and we look forward to working with all our partners across the sector to help rebuild this vital part of our economy.

The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group has been a real team effort, giving the agencies an opportunity to refocus plans and redirect budget, as well as working alongside the tourism industry to work through daily issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the tourism and events industry, and it will need financial support for some time to come to help it recover. It will require our collective efforts across the sector, and we must act as one to ensure the best possible outcomes for the whole of the visitor economy.

Riddell Graham, Chair of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group

Further information

Details on the allocation of funds will be set out in due course.

The Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce (STRT) is led by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism and the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills. It is responsible for strategic oversight of, and challenging and advising on, recovery plans in response to the COVID-19 impact on Scottish tourism and hospitality.

The STRT published its recommendations for supporting the sector’s recovery in October. The taskforce is not responsible for delivery of the agreed recovery plans – these will be actioned through the STERG and its member organisations.

The STERG* was created to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020. STERG has been working hard to help tourism businesses to recover from this unprecedented situation, working collaboratively to make the best use of budgets. They have one goal – to help the tourism industry return to being the economic and social powerhouse it once was.

Read the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce Report

*STERG consists of COSLA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, and VisitScotland.

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