Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

The impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the tourism and events industry

During this unprecedented period, it's important that we keep an eye on what our competitors are doing, how the industry is reacting and the sentiment and behaviours of our target audiences.

Here you will find:


Monitoring the situation

We’re proactively tracking the effects of Coronavirus on the industry. This is a rapidly changing situation and it's important for us, with your valued regular input, to be able to monitor developments.

We’ve conducted two surveys thus far, both have allowed us to see not only the overall impact on Scottish tourism, but also the impact it is having across different regions and business sectors, so that we can consider how best we might adapt our activities. It's also allowed us to inform the Scottish Government and other industry bodies. Thank you to those that took part.

Results | 20 – 30 March

We had 2,243 responses - 62% were accommodation providers.

  • 99% of businesses responding have experienced cancellations/decline in bookings/fewer visitors
  • 54% of respondents were owner/proprietor run businesses with no employees; a further 33% were small businesses of 1-10 FTE’s
  • The largest responding segment with 38% were non-serviced accommodation providers
  • 58% of respondents (with employees) stated they have had to reduce staff numbers to date (30 March) with a likelihood of further losses in the future.
  • The majority of respondents claim to have lost up to £50,000, with some claiming losses of substantially more than this.
  • Average length for survival of business without support is 3 months
  • 43% want long term relief from paying business related taxes e.g. VAT

Other key issues raised include loss of income compounded by seasonality, support as grants not loans, business Interruption Insurance not paying out, support needed for self employed including those falling between the cracks in support measures announced i.e. new start-ups,  those using their own home and still having to pay existing bills, those renting and those who do not qualify for grant under current rules.

Monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on the Scottish tourism industry

Published April 2020

Full Report: Wave 2 results (20-30 March 2020)

Results | 9 - 16 March 

There were 2,200 completed responses from the following business types: Non-serviced Accommodation 30%; Hotel, B&B & Guesthouse 30%; Activities, Attractions and Tours 25%; Food, Drink and Retail businesses 9%; and businesses that classified themselves as ‘other’ 5%.

Responding to questions on the impact to business in the week beginning 9 March:

  • 60% of businesses report that they have experienced an increase in cancellations, a drop in bookings, or that they have received fewer visitors in the previous week.
  • The biggest impacts were recorded amongst the Hotel, B&B & Guesthouse category, with 72% reporting negatively, whilst 66% of Activities, Attractions and Tours said they have been adversely affected. 55% of Food, Drink and Retail businesses were also affected.

Of those that responded, 55% of businesses were able to quantify what this means in lost revenue. Total losses recorded:

  • Total losses for cancellations in this past week, £3,508,807.
  • Total losses for future bookings in this past week, £17,534,764.


Market intelligence report

We have currently paused proactive paid for marketing activity so we're constantly looking at travel trends to allow us and the industry to know when we can restart our activity.

We will be creating a series of regular intel reports to keep you updated on travel news, consumer intent and market insight from around the globe.


Our latest report

  • In this week’s edition, we look at ongoing information about restrictions easing in our key visitor markets and share some of the measures that different countries are implementing to reassure visitors and provide physical distancing. 

    Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 27 May 2020

    Published May 2020

Previous reports

Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 20 May 2020

Published May 2020

Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 13 May 2020

Published May 2020

Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 6 May 2020

Published May 2020

Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 29 April 2020

Published April 2020

Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 22 April 2020

Published April 2020

Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 15 April 2020

Published April 2020

Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 8 April 2020

Published April 2020

Marketing Intelligence: COVID-19 update 1 April 2020

Published April 2020

COVID-19 events industry consultation

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a major impact on sporting, cultural and business events.

As part of our continued work to support the events sector throughout this period, we have undertaken a series of virtual forums with more than 120 senior representatives from across the sector to gather insight into the issues and challenges they are facing.

Forum feedback

  • The forums have provided a wealth of information and the constructive feedback gathered is helping inform and shape a sustainable recovery plan for our very important events industry. Here is a summary of the key themes from the discussions.

    Feedback from the events industry COVID-19 consultation 2020

    Published May 2020