Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

min read

Advice for tourism businesses

In light of COVID-19, everyone's health and safety is the most important thing. We want to be able to share our beautiful country with everyone near and far but only when it’s safe to do so. We are now asking everyone who is considering future day trips and overnight stays to plan ahead carefully and check opening arrangements with your business directly.

We appreciate that it’s an extremely difficult time for businesses across Scotland who are facing temporary closure and we want to help where we can. That’s why we have outlined some best practice advice on what to share on your digital channels (website and social media) during the current and evolving coronavirus situation.

We’ve also detailed our own planned activity through the phases of this pandemic, so you can follow the same outline and make use of the activity we are carrying out, when it’s suitable to do so. This page will be updated on a regular basis so that you have the most up to date picture. This was last updated 5 June 2020.

What to share right now (Restart phase)

We are now in Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s recovery plan. We would now recommend expanding your social posts to:

  • Official advice icon

    Official advice from the Scottish Government

  • Sharing key messages icon

    Sharing key messages from VisitScotland or your Destination Management Organisation (DMO)

  • Business operating hours icon

    Updates confirming your business plans for reopening, and what changes will be made to your way of operating in line with government guidelines


    Messages of support, compassion and community spirit in light of the current situation - consider what might resonate best with your audience



    Posts about future trips that visitors may enjoy to Scotland

We would also advise you to update your listing and Google My Business listing with any changes to your operational status. 

Top tips

Here are some best practice tips to keep you right on your social media channels and website.

Writing your own posts: 

  • Keep reviewing your scheduled posts to ensure what you are saying matches the current phase of the Scottish Government’s recovery plan.
  • Pin important messages to the top of your page. Each post has an options button on the top right to allow you to pin that post. 
  • Remember your audience is likely to be made up of local Scots as well as international visitors, so don’t talk only to visitors. 
  • Self-contained accommodation was able to reopen from 3 July and outdoor hospitality from 6 July, with the wider tourism sector likely able to reopen from 15 July. You can now talk about visits to Scotland, focusing on the local market, including specific dates as to when people can book with or visit you.
  • You still need to be available for moderation and respond to any comments you get on your social media posts.
  • Don’t minimise the situation but be sympathetic and responsible if replying to any comments you receive. 
  • Don’t create content or social media posts which shows activities or attractions with large crowds. Find out more about creating an impact with good imagery.
  • If you are publishing any inspirational content in future phases, watch out for phrases that could be misread in the current times, eg “take your breath away” or “get stuck here for a few days”. 

Sharing other content:

  • Check government, VisitScotland and DMO messaging, etc – the more we all talk together, the more our message is amplified. Share our messages as well as creating your own. 
  • Don’t reshare anything that could be fake news – rely on trusted channels only for important information and updates. 

What to plan for

At VisitScotland, we’re carefully planning our website and social media content in response to the evolving coronavirus situation, both for the current Re-start phase, and for future phases of travel. We’ve outlined a high-level overview of this below to guide you on the most appropriate time to reintroduce proactive content and social media marketing of your business.

A phased approach to planning and activity

Whilst it is not possible to put specific timelines on when we’ll be able to welcome visitors again, there are distinct phases for which we’re able to plan different activity.

  1. 1


    • Status: Ongoing lockdown.
    • Approach: Keep Scotland top of mind, build advocacy and trust.

    Continue with Stay Home, Stay Safe messages but promote ‘armchair travel’ – fond memories, dream now, plan later.

  2. 2


    • Status: Ongoing lockdown.
    • Approach: Support industry to prepare for re-start.

    Intelligence will be gathered, and shared with industry with a focus on reviewing product propositions, prices, and distribution strategies and updating and optimising online channels.

  3. 3

    Restart (current phase)

    • Status: Lockdown is relaxed, but restrictions continue on physical distancing and limited travel.
    • Approach: Build pride and empathy and promote wellbeing among Scots. Reconnecting Scots with Scotland.

    Promote day trips and short overnight stays in an inclusive, sustainable and wellness-focused country.

  4. 4


    Part 1

    • Status: Domestic travel restrictions are lifted and interest in visiting grows.
    • Approach: Make Scotland discoverable across all key channels, increase demand for Scottish holidays, and drive bookings.

    Promote the benefits of a holiday in Scotland, our warm welcome and the unique experiences on offer.

    Part 2

    • Status: International travel restrictions are lifted, and industry and route development picks up.
    • Approach: Making Scotland discoverable in key target markets, raise awareness and build demand for Scottish holiday bookings for 2021.

    Promote the benefits of a holiday in Scotland, our warm welcome and the unique experiences on offer.

Our content marketing plans

We’re now in the Restart phase of our tourism recovery plan, and are beginning to talk about future trips and holidays again.

Staff at VisitScotland have been working on a number of new projects to keep people busy at home, and to inspire future trips to Scotland.

Our Holidays & Breaks page is still the main hub for lockdown content, and it was updated to feature:

  • Our new Absence makes the heart grow fonder video
  • How to see Scotland from home - 360° videos, interactive sounds, aerial footage and wildlife webcams
  • Creative indoor projects – from NorthLink’s colouring competition to Scottish recipes, virtual museum tours to Scottish origami

We’re continuing to plan for the future phases looking for suitable content for local travel, holidaying at home, and international travel when it’s safe to do so. Check back on this page for more information on what we’re up to next.

VisitScotland's marketing plans

All teams at VisitScotland are planning for the future phases and creating content and promotion plans, ready for when the situation in Scotland may change.

Find out more about our marketing response to COVID-19.

Latest advice