Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

Whilst the outcome of Brexit remains unclear we are engaging with the Scottish Government and partners on the basis of a no-deal scenario, gathering information and sharing advice on how businesses can prepare for Brexit.

There’s a lot of information available to help your business and your non-UK European employees. We’ve tried to pull this together to help you navigate the world of Brexit.

Business support

Latest figures for the tourism sector show that 64% of businesses are planning for Brexit, 22% intend to do this and only 14% have no plans to prepare.

This compares favourably with other sectors where, on average, only around 33% of companies are planning for Brexit, a further 45% intend to do this and 22% currently have no plans to prepare.

The joint agency ‘Prepare for Brexit’ campaign aims is to stimulate many more companies to actively plan for Brexit, helping to increase business and wider economic resilience in the face of significant change.

Prepare of Brexit promotion pack

Published: September 2019

Information about the next phase of the Prepare for Brexit campaign

The campaign is focused on providing advice and support to all businesses in Scotland so that you can plan for the likely consequences of Brexit and ensure continued business growth.  This toolkit of supports includes:

  • a self-assessment tool
  • access to a range of advisers
  • an EU (European Union) exit checklist of 15 ways you can prepare your business
  • event, workshop and networking information
  • information on funding support to help develop and implement Brexit plans
  • links to the latest UK Government advice to businesses

Take a look www.prepareforbrexit.scot

VisitScotland is supporting the Scottish Government’s public information campaign www.mygov.scot/euexit, advising people in Scotland of the impact of Brexit.

Support for non-UK EU Citizens

The contribution of non-UK EU (European Union) workers to Scotland’s tourism industry should be celebrated and reassurances should be given to them about their employment status.

In the year to June 2018, the Scottish tourism sector employed 21,000 EU nationals, accounting for 11.6% of employment in the sector.

The UK Home Secretary made a statement recently about migration rules in the event of a no deal. It covers a number of issues relevant to non-UK EU nationals currently resident in the UK, those who are visiting temporarily and those who wish to move here for work or study. Read more.

Also, the Scottish Government has provided funding to Citizens’ Advice Scotland to deliver an advice service to non-UK EU nationals.  Funded by £800,000 over three years by the Scottish Government, Citizens Advice Bureaux will begin increasing capacity to offer advice and support immediately, with a view to the full service being live at the beginning of March 2019. Read the full press release.

The Scottish Government has recently launched Stay in Scotland, a campaign to support non-UK EU citizens living in Scotland. This includes a toolkit to help employers support their non-UK EU staff www.gov.scot/stayinscotland.

VisitScotland is supporting the Scottish Government’s public information campaign www.mygov.scot/euexit, advising people in Scotland of the impact of Brexit.

Tourism industry response

Our Industry Barometer has almost 1,300 responses from tourism businesses across Scotland. During the Quarter three 2018 survey we included four Brexit questions within the broad range of questions on performance and confidence. 

The Brexit questions focused on preparedness and we will continue to monitor this. The results are broadly in-line with research undertaken by Scottish Enterprise amongst their tourism account managed businesses. 

Industry barometer Q3 2018

Credit VisitScotland

We will continue to monitor this and will add aditional Brexit related questions as required. 

The Scottish Tourism Alliance surveyed its members and respondents reported no increase in cancellations as a result of the vote, with formward bookings steady and in some cases increasing. 

Our visitor's response

VisitScotland and the tourism industry continue to make the case for there to be no barriers for EU visitors, with the UK continuing as a visa-free destination for EU visitors. The warmth of the welcome is more critical than ever.

Currently Europe provides six out of Scotland’s 10 key markets. In 2017 1.9 million Europeans visited Scotland (or 13% of all international and domestic visitors) spending £1.1 billion. Of the 1.9 million European visitors there were 1.6 million residing in the European Union which is 11% of all visitor trips representing £956 million (or 12% of all expenditure).

What are visitors asking us?

There has been a very small number of inquires direct to VisitScotland from potential European and other international visitors. These have covered details around flights, driving, social unrest and, an inquiry forwarded from the Scottish Tourism Alliance, highlighted an instance where securing travel insurance was problematic for a visitor.

There is every likelihood that the volume of these enquires and comments about potential barriers to travel will increase in the coming weeks. Travel information will be shared with visitors on visitscotland.com.

Similarly, we will continue to update information on this site for businesses and through our industry e-communications and social media channels.

The current travel situation

We are working very closely with the travel trade, pushing out a strong welcome message.

The situation as it currently stands is that there are no indications that travel will be affected when the UK leaves the EU.  The UK government and the European Commission have said that flights will continue to operate between the UK and the EU after 29 March 2019, regardless of the wider Brexit negotiations.

Non-UK EU nationals will be able to continue to travel to the UK with their identity cards until at least 2021, and those with a valid biometric passport can continue to use electronic portals (PARAFE) for quick and easy entry into the UK. Visitors who are citizens of the current EU Member States will continue to be able to travel without a visa.

What are we doing?

Through the Brexit Response Steering Group, we are working with key Scottish public sector partners to share insight and advice on how businesses and stakeholders can prepare for Brexit. 

This has included sharing the Prepare for Brexit toolkit with businesses we work with, The Scottish Tourism Alliance and UK Hospitality. 

We are also a member of the Culture, Tourism and Major Events Reference Group, convened by Mike Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relation. The Group comprises key stakeholders from across tourism, culture and heritage sectors. 

To ensure that the Scottish Government and public agencies are ready for a no-deal scenario an EU Exit Project Team has been established. The purpose of the group:

  • Be clear on the most critical preparations that we need to make to prepare for Brexit.
  • Identify key cross-cutting themes.
  • Ensure relationships in place with key stakeholders (regional and local) as well as the UK Government, other Devolved Administrations and the EU institutions to hear opinion and support the exchange of information.
  • Ensure effective communications.

VisitScotland is also involved in a Scottish Government led communications group and has shared lines and insight as part of plans for providing public information. 

Europe, let’s continue our love affair

The latest chapter in the global marketing campaign, Scotland Is Now, launched on 29 March 2019 with a simple, powerful message: “Europe, let’s continue our love affair”. It reinforces Scotland’s reputation as a world-class place for people to live, work, visit, study and do business, specifically targeted at key European markets.

Our ask of you... Our heartfelt love letter to Europe is a simple one: Scotland has a message for you Europe, from the bottom of our hearts, Scotland is open to you. Our businesses, our universities, our beautiful country and our warm people welcome you.

We remain committed to being a country for Europeans to come live, work, study, visit and do business with. To help us share this message we have several tools in our Scotland is Open Toolkit for you to download and use on your communication channels.

These include:

  • A 30 second and six second film for download (16:9 Versions available with English, French, German and Spanish subtitles plus 1:1 version for social platforms with English subtitles)
  • Campaign imagery
  • Social media tiles
  • Campaign information

Each version of our film is also available on our Scotland is Now Youtube channel. Please help us tell Europe that Scotland wants to continue our love affair with them.

Supporting Non-UK EU staff

Our staff base comprises 12% Non-UK EU nationals, working in a number of locations and variety of jobs – we are proud of the contribution they make to our organisation.

We are committed to fully engaging with, and supporting our non-UK EU staff who will be affected by Brexit.  The implications of Brexit also mean that we need to consider what actions we must take as a business to continue to attract and retain talent regardless of nationality – the fact is that the EU provides us with a valuable pool of talent and we need to do what we can to continue that trend.

We encourage all businesses to work with and support their Non-UK EU staff in order to retain dedicated and skilled workers.

Contact us

If you have any issues regarding Brexit you would like to discuss with us please email business.communications@visitscotland.com.