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The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) was stood up to support businesses throughout uncertain times of the pandemic.


In this section

  1. Download the STERG Scenario Planning Toolkit
  2. The five scenarios
  3. VisitScotland's response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
  4. Consultation

1. Download the STERG Scenario Planning Toolkit

We made this toolkit to help businesses plan for and address many different challenges being faced during the pandemic. It also aimed to help steer those businesses out through to the other side of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Looking forward, developing flexible strategies is one of the most important routes to recovery.

Download the STERG Scenario Planning Toolkit

Published November 2020

2. The five scenarios

One valuable technique to prepare for an uncertain future is scenario planning. Scenarios are a powerful tool. They’re particularly useful in the development of strategies to navigate extreme events seen recently. And help businesses to plot a course between the uncertainty and confusion which often strike in troubled times.

We developed five scenarios suggesting how Scottish tourism could potentially evolve over the pandemic.

  • Scenario one: The baseline scenario. 

    The baseline scenario is our “world as-it-is” interpretation. It's how tourism looked after it restarted following lockdown in July 2020. It represents our starting point from which to consider the other scenarios as they begin to deviate from this. But also as we look at changing consumer behaviour and business operating environments.

  • Scenario two: The old normal

    We see infection rates managed through vaccine or societal compliance with regulations. This results in a strong consumer confidence, and sees increasing tourism demand to prepandemic levels.

  • Scenario three: Doors open

    These remain challenging times for consumers. There might be concerns over possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. There might be worries over household incomes. These, as well as job security, could result in people watching their spending and where they go and what they do.

  • Scenario four: Long chill

    This scenario assumes:

    • The implementation of physical distancing legislation
    • Rolling localised lockdowns due to uncontrolled cases of infection
    • Confusing regulation being introduced and then reversed

    This has limited the capacity of tourism operators and had a lasting effect on confidence in travel among travellers.

  • Scenario five: Five winters

    This could be described as the worst-case scenario, the equivalent of three to five quarters of “low season” levels of performance. A perfect storm of economic recession and rolling waves of infection and subsequent lockdowns brought this on. Most parts of the economy are suffering from decline in consumer spend and business closures.

3. VisitScotland's response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our senior team provide insights into some of the issues and challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

4. Consultation

You are welcome to download the toolkit and work through it independently. Though you may also find it useful as a tool for discussion and input gathering as part of a team exercise with your staff.

You may also recognise that this could usefully be undertaken as a group of businesses with a common focus. If so, please consider approaching your sector group or association.

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