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Visit Scotland | Alba
VisitScotland and Luigi Di Pasquale

Working together to support industry


Giving Scottish tourism industry bodies a coordinated response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We stood up the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in March 2020. Its goal was to respond to the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis and to support tourism businesses to then recover from the pandemic.

Sterg consisted of
COSLA Highlands and Islands Enterprise Skills Development Scotland Scottish Government
Scottish Enterprise South of Scotland Enterprise Scottish Tourism Alliance VisitScotland

The collaboration succeeded in getting significant levels of financial help to the industry. This ensured that public money was targeted in the most effective way during the pandemic.

STERG developed a £25 million recovery programme. This has provided the foundation and first phase support for a sustainable recovery of tourism industry in the medium to long term.


Its achievements included:

  • Supporting 73 destination organisations and sector groups with £4.5 million of funding to develop campaigns to stimulate recovery
  • Rolling out a tourism and hospitality talent development programme including a national transition training fund programme, head chef training and a mental health and wellbeing programme
  • The Destination Net Zero project which has created a robust evidence base to create a greener tourism sector


The group’s work also supported the recommendations of the Scottish Tourism Recovery Task Force. This was set up to look at what measures the Scottish and UK Governments could take to bolster recovery.


STERG stood down at the end of 2022 and a Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group has been established to drive Scotland’s ambition to be a world leader in 21st century tourism.

All partners involved in STERG remain committed to providing advice and guidance for tourism businesses. This includes using our skills and resources to focus on work which reduces the impact of the current economic situation, stimulates demand and aids recovery.

In particular, the public sector agencies will continue to collaborate on the work to achieve net zero, ensuring that tackling the climate change challenges remain a high priority.