The First Minister has announced a new £25 million tourism recovery programme.
The recovery proposals were developed by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in collaboration with members of the Tourism Task Force and represent initiatives which are over and above the scope of current public agency funding.
It is the recommendation of STERG and the Tourism Task Force that these proposals will not only accelerate recovery in the short term, allowing tourism to once again contribute to communities and to the economy of Scotland, but will provide the foundation for a sustainable recovery of Scottish tourism in the medium to long term, setting us back on track towards the ambitions of Scotland Outlook 2030.
VisitScotland plays a key role in delivering the new programme with six out of 10 of the proposals led by us. We thought it would be useful to outline the phase one recovery projects.
Priority recovery proposals led by VisitScotland
- To support recovery of the Scottish tourism industry by keeping Scotland top of mind with high spending international visitors.
- Make Scotland the first-choice destination when international travel is possible again – encouraging forward bookings for late 2021 through 2022 and beyond.
- Through increased international profile restore Scotland’s connectivity with key markets working in partnership with transport providers aligned to our route development strategy.
- Enable inbound Destination Management Companies selling Scotland through in market retail networks to deliver an enhanced programme of sales and marketing activity to secure incremental bookings of new responsible tourism experiences from priority markets.
- To galvanise a national, substantial, coordinated marketing effort to put Scotland front of mind for domestic consumers year-round.
- To facilitate a sector and destination led approach in partnership with communities to support the re-building of local visitor economies enabling organisations to extend their reach in targeting potential visitors looking for a domestic holiday.
- To support the development and packaging of Scotland’s tourism product into world class visitor experiences aligned closely with long term responsible tourism objectives to ensure a sustainable recovery.
To introduce a new holiday voucher scheme aimed at supporting industry recovery and creating a more responsible tourism industry which is more socially sustainable and inclusive.
The key objectives of the scheme are:
- To stimulate off-season domestic breaks and day visits for low-income families, unpaid carers and disadvantaged young people by offering subsidised breaks in Scotland.
- To support the tourism and hospitality sector to recover when lockdown measures have lifted and offer new target group and marketing opportunities.
- Increase ethical practices by improving health and general well-being of participants.
- For younger participants we recommend including an educational and skilling aspect offering hands-on experience in conservation work with the benefit of promoting responsible countryside behaviours. This aspect could be delivered in partnership with the National Parks.
- Increase cooperation between the voluntary and private sectors in the provision of holidays.
- To boost regional investment, stimulating spend in areas like attractions, tours and activities, but also complementary areas like food and drink.
- To address challenges of low demand stimulating spend on quieter days and encouraging more off-season and non-peak activity uptake.
- To help businesses remain viable and build new visitor audiences.
- To rebuild consumer confidence in the face of COVID-19.
Support the implementation of the Strategic Infrastructure Plans in six of the priority areas identified by the Managing for Visitors Infrastructure & Investment Subgroup over the next two – three years to ease the immediate impact of visitor pressures at key locations, enhancing the visitor experience and delivering greener, sustainable infrastructure development in line with the ambitions of Scotland Outlook 2030.
The aim of this project is to create a resource for Scotland’s tourism industry which would make necessary, relevant and valuable data, analysis and insight easily accessible, and would exploit data developments and innovations to expand our knowledge further.
Priority recovery proposals – other activity
This proposal seeks to develop COVID-19 resilience within the sector and support the response and recovery to the pandemic through an industry-led skills development programme.
It is building upon the successful Tourism and Hospitality Talent Development Programme funded through the Scottish Government National Transition Training Fund which has put 2,000 sector staff through a programme of supervisory, management and leadership training.
- To develop and deliver a programme of leadership skills development for Scotland’s tourism industry in financial year 2021/22 recognising the importance of leadership in helping the sector recover from COVID-19, building on experience of the successful Destination Leaders Programme (DLP), Communities Leading in Tourism (CLT), and Rural Leadership Programme (RLP).
- To create and deliver, working with the industry leaders, including previous programme alumni, an Innovation Recovery Fund to support recovery.
Scottish Enterprise is leading in partnership with VisitScotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Alliance.
To develop and deliver a Net Zero Pathway for Scottish tourism – a five year, two-phased plan, which will:
- Build evidence and partnerships.
- Prioritise investment on low carbon recovery and renewal.
- Drive innovation for environmental, economic and social benefits.
Phase one (2021/2022) will focus on awareness and optimisation.
To develop and consider options for viable new investment models which will support both recovery and Scotland Outlook 2030 ambitions. Two month project to:
- Assess the current investment market.
- Explore the particular needs of businesses within the sector with the view to identifying gaps in investment support and the future focus of any new investment models.
VisitScotland is focused on the recovery of the industry, building a destination and visitor experience which allows tourism and events to flourish now and in the future.
We won't just push a button and tourism will recover – we've had a year of very little investment, job losses and business closures – it will take time and significant investment to get us back to a thriving industry. With the right support tourism and events can lead the economic recovery and boost inward investment where it’s needed most.
We welcome the announcement for additional funding to support a range of recovery initiatives including additional investment for domestic and international marketing.
There’s big investment against international demand which will allow us to scale our international marketing efforts to ensure that Scotland remains a must visit destination, raising awareness of Scotland in our key markets, increasing consideration of holidays in Scotland and making sure that when the time is right we can convert that interest into bookings.
A phased approach is being taken in order to meet specific timescales set by the Scottish Government.
Phase one: A set of priority recovery proposals which outline the immediate support required from Scottish Government in the coming six months to two years. This is over and above the urgent need for ongoing business support to ensure business survival.
Phase two: A five-year recovery plan which includes a further set of proposals, accompanied by proposed investment models. Proposals will reflect both short term proposals to support immediate recovery within the next two years, and medium-term proposals to support recovery within two to five years. Submission end of May 2021.
Phase three: review, adjust, develop and build the Recovery Plan to reflect the changing landscape.
Delivering a tourism recovery and investment plan will deliver benefits which underpin the four key outcomes identified in Scotland Outlook 2030:
- A more resilient, agile sector capable of managing future shocks and change, building longer term sustainability and profitability.
- A greener low carbon exemplar sector which delivers tangible community and social benefit, creating and developing sustainable destinations.
- Skilled sustainable workforce with improved employee working conditions built on fair work principles creating a committed, diverse and valued workforce.
- A globally recognised sector – considered world class in key sectors and providing the very best, authentic and memorable experiences.