The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) consists of COSLA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, and VisitScotland has been working on a single, joined-up, phased National Action Plan to not just combat the current issues but also look at how the industry could effectively recover once the lockdown is eased. This has been a real team effort, giving the agencies an opportunity to refocus plans and redirect budget, as well as working alongside the tourism industry to work through daily issues.
The Group may need additional representation, either on an ad hoc basis depending on the subject at hand or on a permanent basis.
This page includes key notes and actions for the following meetings:
- Thursday 21 May
- Thursday 14 May
- Thursday 7 May
- Thursday 30 April
- Thursday 23 April
- Thursday 16 April
- Thursday 9 April
- Thursday 2 April
- Thursday 26 March
- Week commencing 23 March
- Tuesday 17 March
Thursday 21 May | key notes and actions
STERG National Action Plan: the Action Plan is an evolving document and will continue to be informed by the latest data, insights and government updates. The Restart phase will be a particular area of focus. The First Minister’s announcement set out a route map with a number of different phases which will be triggered by the ongoing review of the R number. Tourism is still aggregated together and there is a priority action to make recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary on what a phased reopening of the sector may look like.
The plan is now live here on VisitScotland.org.
Preparing for opening: The “UKH Covid-19 recovery protocols”, which is a set of industry led standards and protocols to ensure the safe reopening for both staff and customers, has now been put forward to the UK and Scottish Government. This document is intended as a guide to businesses to prepare their own risk assessments and operational plans. It was noted that good progress is being made in the outdoor sector with many sub sector bodies collaborating to produce a set of recommendations. The challenge continues to be timing and having sight of a possible timeline.
Scenario planning: It has been agreed that a set of light touch scenarios will be available by the first week of June to further inform the continued development of the STERG Action Plan. It was also agreed that this will be developed further afterwards, (e.g. 12-18 month / 3-5 year).
Funding packages update: Both the Pivotal Enterprises Resilience Fund and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund are now closed. A significant volume of applications were received for both and the focus is on turning around the appraisals as quickly as possible. There will be a good number of tourism businesses who will be successful, however there will also be a large percentage not successful. For those businesses, a follow up process will be communicated and this can be found on findbusinesssupport.
Grant applications through the local authorities: c. 82,000 applications received, c. 65,000 grants awarded and c. £741 million awarded. The Destination and Sector Support fund had 65 applications – announcement w/c 1 June.
Business Gateway: A number of mental health webinars for business owners, managers and employees have been held this week reflecting Mental Health Week. Beginning to see start-up activity.
Skills Development Scotland: Support continues for the expanded Careers information, Advice and Guidance resources which are available to support people whose work or learning has been impacted by COVID-19. Focus shifting to feeding in ideas for longer term support.
Scottish Tourism Alliance: continuing to push for financial support for businesses who have not been eligible for any funding packages. Recent announcements of significant redundancies in the sector will be accentuated further if no dates are available for reopening.
VisitScotland: Work is continuing to track community sentiment across all regions of Scotland. Analysis so far is very good and is providing a good snapshot of what communities are saying.
Thursday 14 May | key notes and actions
Scenario planning: The Scottish Government team advised that due to the substantive nature of the scenario planning work that has been requested by STERG, additional time would be required to complete it. An estimated delivery date would be June for the 12-18 month scenarios.
National Action Plan: reviewing and updating the four phases of the Action Plan - Respond, Reset, Restart and Recover. The need to share the Plan as soon as possible was discussed and it was agreed the latest version would be reviewed at the next STERG meeting on 21 May with a view to publishing soon after. The Plan is a live evolving document and will be reviewed / updated on an ongoing basis. The next full review will take place w/c 1 June.
Destination and sector support: The closing date for applications is Friday 22 May. So far 39 applications have been received.
Preparing for opening: there is still a desire to take a UK wide approach. UK Hospitality has developed an extensive set of industry led protocols to ensure the safe reopening for both staff and customers. The final proposal, which are intended as a guide to businesses on which to prepare their own risk assessments and operational plans, will be presented to the UKH board for sign off on the 15 May and then to the UK government and Scottish Government w/c 18 May.
The industry sectors included cover, Hotels & Accommodation, Pubs & Bars, Cafes & Coffee Shops, Quick Service Restaurants, Food Service, Late Night Venues and Visitor Attractions. If approved, this could be seen as the blueprint which is adopted UK wide. VisitScotland will support with the communication of the new protocols once approved by government and the Health & Safety Executive and will look to create an industry friendly version.
Community concerns: there are communities who are not yet ready to welcome visitors. There is concern as to whether community sentiment is being taken into account when industry or Scottish Government guidelines are being issued for reopening? The group agreed any guidance issued should be accompanied by a supporting communication which clearly highlights that communities are one of the key considerations when planning to reopen.
Funding packages update: The Pivotal Enterprises Resilience Fund and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund will close on Monday 18 May. An update on grant applications through the local authorities was provided. c. 78,000 applications received, c. 59,000 grants awarded and c. £679 million awarded.
Scottish Government: The Scottish Government informed the group that there are currently three core work streams underway tasked at looking at recovery 1. Economic Recovery (which the National Recovery Advisory Group is aligned to), 2. Green Recovery 3. Renew Project.
Skills Development Scotland: Launch of expanded Careers information, Advice and Guidance resources to support people whose work or learning has been impacted by COVID-19. PACE toolkit launched to raise awareness of redundancy support.
Scottish Tourism Alliance: The media have picked up on the announcement from the UK Government on the creation of UK Task Forces and are asking if the Scottish Government will have equivalent Task Forces. The Food Tourism Board is restructuring to provide a tighter recovery working group to work on an action plan. Recent conversations have highlighted that as lockdown restrictions begin to relax the importance of achieving a balance between trying to optimise outdoor spaces for the provision of hospitality experiences whilst being sensitive to landowners and communities will be critical.
VisitScotland: On Tuesday 12 May Riddell Graham led the first in a series of VisitScotland webinars. The first webinar focused on the recovery of tourism. There were many questions asked during the webinar however the top 3 areas of concern were, Training, Cleaning & Hygiene and Communities. The complete Q&A document and film can be found on VisitScotland.org.
Thursday 7 May | key notes and actions
Scenario planning: update on the scenario planning proposal, outlining a draft framework and a set of outcomes. It is proposed the first high level analysis will be available at the end of May.
VisitScotland industry survey: the preference would be to collate and analyse the results from the many industry surveys that are going on right now before going ahead and issuing a further industry survey.
STERG Action Plan: the next review of the STERG Restart & Recover plan would be at the end of May. In the meantime it was agreed that all partners would review the latest version of the Action Plans and update as appropriate.
Independent Advisory Group on Economic Recovery: STA met to hear the groups brief and its invitation to industry to come forward with radical ideas that would kick start and accelerate economic recovery through Tourism in a post COVID-19 world (2021 and beyond). The Advisory Group will present their findings and recommendations at the end of June to the First Minister and therefore the STA have agreed to provide a coordinated response by 28 May.
Destination and sector support: VisitScotland COVID-19 Destination and Sector Support Fund launched. The fund provides financial help to tourism destination and sector organisations across Scotland. Over £400,000 is available. Closing date for applications is Friday 22 May.
Preparing for opening: An industry meeting was held on 6 May to discuss what “coming out of lockdown” will mean for business operations and the customer, primarily in terms of guidance for social distancing, cleaning and hygiene. 6 industry representatives attended as well as representatives from STA, Scottish Government, VisitScotland and COSLA.
There is clearly a lot of guidance out there being developed, and which can be drawn on. The ideal would be to collate existing materials and put together a coordinated Scottish proposal to take to the Scottish Government for sign off. There was a clear consensus from the meeting that a UK wide approach was the recommended way forward.
Funding packages update: the Pivotal Enterprises Resilience Fund on hold until w/c 11 May, however the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprise Hardship Fund remains open. The eligibility criteria for the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund is deemed to have too many restrictions and caveats. Applications for multiple property grants through the Local Authorities, opens 5 May 2020. The additional £617 million grant support announced by the UK Government, should result in c. £60 million in consequentials for Scotland. There is currently no firm plan on what the £60 million will be used for in Scotland.
Community Concerns over exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) from visitors: VisitScotland, HIE and STA are all receiving reports from tourism businesses about negative community sentiment. Destinations are doing what they can do to manage this however there is a need for additional support.
Thursday 30 April | key notes and actions
STERG National Action Plan: The group discussed and agreed that a small sub group should be set up to develop the Restart & Recover sections of the Action Plan at pace.
Scenario planning: Broad parameters discussed. The purpose is to consider the implications of different options on Scottish tourism that may apply once we move out of the recovery stage. The scenarios should also identify and inform potential future market failure or opportunity within the sector and finally should help inform policy / future interventions. The scenarios will aim to inform a very broad range of activity form granular interventions to the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030.
VisitScotland industry survey: The group discussed whether another industry survey should be run in May. Agreed there would be value, however questions should be revised. Concern raised that the industry was at risk of survey fatigue. Agreed there would be value in understanding the results from all of these surveys as it could inform the direction of the next VisitScotland survey.
Destination support: The eligibility of DMOs for either the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund or the Pivotal Enterprises Resilience Fund was discussed. It was suggested that they should be eligible to apply to either however clarity required. It was noted they wouldn’t be able to apply for both. Future sustainability of DMOs is a key issue to be addressed, there is a need to understand how the STERG will feed into this discussion.
STERG members: Discussed value in extending membership of the STERG to representatives of other organisations. It was agreed there wasn’t a need for that, at this point in time, as the group had to remain tight to operate efficiently. However, there would be great value in inviting other representatives to become part of the sub groups who will develop the Action Plan.
Scottish Government £100 million Business Support Programme: grant support launched. Events identified as a potential gap as it doesn’t have a SIC code – work ongoing to resolve this.
Preparing for opening: a lot of work going on across a number of organisations to develop their own guidance for social distancing and for cleaning and hygiene. Concern that if it’s not coordinated, it will lead to overlap, duplication and confusion.
Industry update: The STA, in partnership with a number of other trade bodies, are putting forward a case to the Treasury for the support of businesses with a Rateable Value >£51,000. The ‘hibernation’ costs being incurred by c.2,400 businesses in Scotland are significant and these businesses need to be protected if they are to survive.
Skills Development Scotland: New online learning portal for furlough workers now available. Ramped up PACE service now live.
Enterprise Agencies (SoSE / HIE / SE): New ‘Tune into Tourism’ podcasts from HIE will start on 8 May and run for 4 weeks - easily digestible platform for topical news and discussion, focusing on the recovery of the tourism industry across Scotland. The Communities fund being administered by HIE has now approved 114 applications and awarded c.£2.5 million. The focus of this fund is to support communities impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Business Gateway: 76,000 grant applications have been received by local authorities, 45,000 grants were awarded and £526 million has been awarded.
Thursday 23 April | key notes and actions
STERG National Action Plan: Phase 1 Respond and Phase 2 Reset were both approved for publication. The Response & Reset Action Plan was made live on VisitScotland.org on Friday 24 April and shared by all partners. It was agreed further work was required on Phase 3 Restart and Phase 4 Recover. In the first instance the group should review the existing plan and consider the additional content required for discussion at the next STERG meeting on 30 April.
Communication: It was agreed that VisitScotland is the main channel for STERG communications with all partners sharing content.
Scenario planning: It was noted that the current Social Distancing survey which the STA is collating and the responses to the Pathways to Recovery consultation will provide industry insight. The importance of ensuring that all the dots are joined in the scenario planning / recovery work was highlighted. The Scottish Government confirmed that the scenario planning work will dovetail into the work being done by others e.g. National Recovery Advisory Group. Paul McCafferty confirmed that following further discussions with the Scottish Tourism Consultants Network, a new proposal was being prepared in response to the STERG requirements.
Support for destinations: Two papers were circulated to STERG, a summary of the results from the Destinations / Sectors survey and based on those survey results, a draft proposal of support options for these organisations. The Group agreed that long term sustainability also needed to be considered however that should be done in the context of a very different future tourism landscape.
New funding package: General feedback from the STA Council meeting on 22nd April was that the additional support was welcomed, however the reality is that there is only a limited pot to go around. It was suggested and agreed that a simple, factual Q&A document be pulled together and issued by the STERG outlining the financial packages that are available and who is eligible to apply for them. This will provide transparency of the support being made available. Clarity on the eligibility of Events for these funds is required.
Preparing for reopening: The Scottish Government advised that the First Minister was publishing initial thoughts on social distancing. It was noted that this wasn’t yet at sector level however the SG tourism team are keen to work with STERG / industry to draft these. The responses from a Social Distancing survey sent by the STA are now being consolidated for submission to the Tourism Industry Council.
Thursday 16 April | key notes and actions
STERG National Action Plan: It was agreed that the Action Plan be revised into four phases to mirror the language being used with the Scottish Government, the Enterprise agencies and other sectors of the economy. 1. Respond 2. Reset 3. Restart 4. Recover.
Scenario planning: The Scottish Government explained that the scenario planning in this instance was focused on informing the longer-term recovery. It was agreed that once the initial conversations with the various individuals / organisations who have offered support have taken place, a proposal should be put forward to the STERG.
Restart phase: The group discussed the RESTART phase and it was acknowledged that there was much uncertainty around the timing of this and what it could potentially look like.
Scottish Government update - additional Support for Business: confirmed there was a lot of detail to be worked through and that this will be forthcoming over the next few days, however at the moment it’s still work in progress. Acknowledged the frustration and advised that work was progressing at speed to provide the detail required.
VisitScotland update - support for Destination Organisations and Sector Groups: issued a survey to 65 organisations with the purpose of understanding the scale of the impact being felt by these organisations. Survey closed on 15 April with 38 responses. The group agreed that there were two clear needs to be addressed: 1. The immediate response to ensure survival and 2. The longer-term sustainability issue. Analysis of the responses will take place over the next few days and results and initial recommendations shared at next STERG meeting.
Industry update from STA: STA Council meeting held 14 April, minutes available on STA website. Regarding the Scottish Government announcement outlining a further £220 million support, there’s been a lot of positivity, however it’s critical the criteria for the application process is quickly detailed and shared. The extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme cut-off date is welcomed but there’s still issues. Many businesses still waiting for cash to flow through the system, it’s hoped furlough payments, due at the end of April, will help. Big outstanding question around planning for recovery and many businesses have highlighted the need for the government to give as much notice as possible so they can start to plan.
Business Gateway update: On 6 April 50,000 grant applications had been received by local authorities, 10,000 had been processed, 7,500 were approved and received grants, the remaining were either on hold or rejected. Of the 7,500 grants awarded £88.6 million went out into the local economies. Concern across the Business Gateway network is clarity on the guidance.
Skills Development Scotland: A recent update was issued widely on the Skills Development Scotland response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. My World of Work Job Hub continues to develop daily. Currently looking at whether PACE requires a sector specific response.
Enterprise Agencies (SoSE / HIE / SE): SoSE working on possible grant options to support anyone who is continuing to fall through the gaps in the government support packages that are available. HIE working with the Scottish Government on the Rural Communities fund and on the Rural & Island Recovery approach. Continuing business support and data and intelligence gathering.
Thursday 9 April | key notes and actions
VisitScotland COVID-19 Tourism Industry Survey: The next survey will be run at the end of April at the earliest to give time for funding to flow to businesses. Arrangements will be made separately to accommodate medium and large businesses by working closely with STA. The objectives of the next survey, and the questions, still need to be agreed.
Industry update from the STA: The STA Council meeting with the Cabinet Secretary was held on 8 April and the minute from the meeting captures the latest industry situation. No further update.
It was also discussed whether the STERG should submit a Scottish Tourism response to the new House of Commons inquiry, ‘Impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors’.
Support for Destination Organisations and Sector Groups: A survey was sent to 65 organisations with the purpose of understanding the scale of the impact being felt be these organisations. The survey will close on Wednesday 15 April. Results and recommended actions will be shared as soon as possible.
Business Gateway: £50,000 grant applications have been received by local authorities, several thousand have now been processed and tens of millions has gone out into the local economies.
Skills Development Scotland: There has been a focus on individual support through online and remote solutions. Continuing to data gather to inform responses.
Enterprise Agencies (SE / HIE / SoSE): Focus continues to be on the coronavirus (COVID-19)response. Reviewing budget allocations to divert to coronavirus (COVID-19)response. Helpline working effectively and continues to receive a high volume of calls. Continues data and intelligence gather. HIE in contact with all Account managed accounts to get an understanding of the impacts being felt and how support is being accessed.
VisitScotland: All communications are being welcomed by businesses. Continuing to see correspondence from people who are still falling through the support gap. Generally people are pleased to be getting the information, however some are still not getting the information and support that they want.
STERG National Action Plan: The draft STERG Action Plan was reviewed and all required changes were noted and summarised in the Plan document.
It was agreed the following two points should be kept in mind:
- We don’t lose connection with the new national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030
- Does the plan respond at the level of scale required given the devastating impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) could have on the sector.
The intention was to share the plan widely after the 9 April meeting however this has been postponed to allow for further amends.
The current draft of the action plan is split into three phases, REACT, STABILISE & RECOVER. Consideration to be given to RESPOND, RESET, RESTART, RECOVER which may be used by other sectors of the economy. Scottish Government to advise on language being used by the economy team. STERG to adopt the same language.
Thursday 2 April meeting | key notes and actions
VisitScotland coronavirus (COVID-19) Tourism Industry Survey: Wave 2: results published. It was agreed that the report provides an excellent picture of the current industry situation which can inform the Scottish and UK Governments. It was agreed that the survey should continue. Survey questions will eb reviewed and we will prepare a new proposal for agreement by the STERG.
Industry Update from STA: priority issues for industry | tourism businesses that currently fall between the gap of support already announced. There are still a variety of tourism businesses who are unable or eligible to benefit from Government support packages. | Self-employment support allowance. A number of different tourism operators still need consideration and clarity on the criteria for this scheme. | The need for flexibility of furlough within the Job Retention Scheme is a necessity. | Scotland’s Self-catering businesses. Concerns around the eligibility criteria for access to the Grant Funding Scheme for self-caterers in particular the definition of the income criteria.
Enterprise Agencies (Scottish Enterprise / Highlands & Islands Enterprise): Organisation focus is coronavirus (COVID-19) response. Helpline working effectively and continues to receive a high volume of calls. Continued data and intelligence gathering. Consistent messaging and signposting to Findbusinesssupport.gov.uk. SE continuing to facilitate peer to peer support, e.g. DLP, Agritourism and a new Glasgow platform. Transferring services online where appropriate. Engaging with partners and stakeholders to ensure a collaborative response.
Skills Development Scotland: Developing a tailored online and telephone advice and guidance service for individuals impacted by the crisis. Re-deploying staff to support the PACE redundancy service. New web facility launched for people who have lost their job due to COVID-19, and employers who wish to recruit. It will match people who have lost work with jobs in sectors currently in need of staff. Developing a real time dashboard on the impact of COVID-19. Engaging with partners to gather insight. Responding to companies in distress.
VisitScotland: Industry facing staff moving from reactive phase to proactive phase speaking directly to businesses. Concern raised that there are some businesses not aware of the sources of advice or support available. Providing marketing support and advice to destination and sector organisations as appropriate. Ongoing concerns around events industry being expressed by the Events Directorate – SG following up directly.
Managing Issues, Concerns and Support Requirements from Tourism Businesses: to continue an effective dialogue between industry and government STERG must issue guidance to Sector and Destination organisations on the most effective way to capture and represent input from industry.
STERG National Action Plan: a revised version of the Action Plan was circulated to the STERG in advance of the meeting. It was agreed that further work was required to ensure all actions are robust, clear and concise with lead organisations identified. The intention is to share the plan widely after the next STERG meeting on 9 April.
Support for Destination Organisations and Sector Groups: VisitScotland shared a draft paper which looks at addressing the need for developing a Destination/Sector organisation support package as part of a coordinated public sector response to coronavirus (COVID-19). All agreed that this should be explored further.
Thursday 26 March meeting | key notes and actions
VisitScotland COVID-19 Tourism Industry Survey: Wave two ends at 12noon on Monday 30 March.
Industry Update From STA: The most significant shift in the last 24 hours has been the impact of OTA cancellations and refunds activity, on businesses cash availability (e.g. Booking.com). Cabinet Secretary Mr Ewing and government officials have been briefed on this issue and will feed into government discussions.
STA highlighted priority issues were outlined: Urgent clarity sought on furlough, support for the self-employed, access to grants for the self-catering sector, signposting the new job matching portal and encouraging organisations to register, rules on closure need to be clear, accessibility of bank loans for businesses and immediate access to cash. All priorities have been raised directly with the Cabinet Secretary Mr Ewing, Ministers and government officials.
VisitScotland update: concern raised that some organisations may be falling through the gaps for example, exclusive use venues and tour operators and that their needs therefore are not being met. Scottish Government are aware of a number of groups where support is either not clear or not there and are pushing for immediate solutions. There have been a number of issues raised around the Events & Festivals sector – this has been forwarded to the Scottish Government team.
Skills Development Scotland update: All services are online. Resource to support PACE is being increased. Web site is being kept up to date to support employers, employees and training providers. Work is being undertaken across all sectors to gauge the impact and what it will mean for the economy and skills in the future. Looking at how they can support sectors who need staff. The SDS Digital team are creating a job site portal - it is recognised this shouldn’t duplicate existing job site platforms but should complement.
Scottish Enterprise update: Helpline working well. Support mechanisms are coming into place for call handlers, account managers and project managers to signpost businesses to. Continued tourism engagement with account managers and project managers. Facilitating peer to peer support.
Highlands & Islands Enterprise update: Currently receiving high volumes of information, which is being analysed to understand the key issues. The core script which is being used across multiple agencies should include VisitScotland.
South of Scotland Enterprise Agency update: Particular concerns raised around Self-Catering and further clarity on furlough.
Business Gateway update: all business support has been moved online, (Skype calls, workshops, webinars, tutorials). Business support signposted on local authority websites and Business Gateway. Self-Catering eligibility is a major concern.
Communication: VisitScotland.org is updated daily with the latest information on COVID-19.There have been 150,000 visitors to the site. All STERG members to continue to keep signposting Mental Health support through their communication channels.
STERG National Action Plan: it was agreed that the DRAFT Plan, which currently contains all activity being undertaken by STERG members, now needs to be refined to ensure that it’s focused on actions which are adding value. It will be a public document that can be shared and continually evolve. Follow up meeting to take place following the STERG meeting to agree how the plan will be refined.
Overarching message is that all activity by STERG members will be focused on supporting businesses now.
Week commencing 23 March | streamlined approach
STERG was slimmed down to a core group made up of the STA, Scottish Government, HIE, SE, SoSE, Skills Development Scotland, Business Gateway and VisitScotland. Our Director of Industry & Destination Development, Riddell Graham, will continue to chair the group.
This group will meet regularly, listen to industry concerns via the STA and other partners, agree actions and communications to and from industry and provide advice to the Cabinet Secretary. This approach, with a reduced membership, will enable a fleet of foot response at this stage in the crisis. The wider group of partners will be kept fully in touch with actions arising from these smaller, focused meetings.
As the main industry groups are members of the STA and/or sit on the STA Council, this will be the direct conduit for industry to raise questions, points of concern and receive STERG briefings. Additionally, there is a plan to carry out a mapping and gapping exercise to make sure any sector not within the STA family is properly included and has a voice.
On transport we’re liaising directly with Transport Scotland who have an overview of ferries, buses, trains, airport and airlines.
The events sector is hugely significant and event partners, including Festivals Edinburgh, are keeping in touch with VisitScotland’s Events Directorate and this information is being shared with the STERG chair.
Tuesday 17 March | first meeting round-up
- Massive threat facing our industry
- What can we do collectively to face the challenges?
- Needs of the industry
- Asks of the Government
- What actions can be deployed?
- Need to discuss and agree the immediate, medium and longer term (recovery plan) actions
- Repeat industry research led by VisitScotland, adapting some questions. Agreement that one survey should be conducted to ensure as high a response as possible.
- Continuation of lobbying by the trade bodies.
- Need for joined up communication across the group.
Overview of industry feedback on 17 March
- The situation is changing continuously with a big shift over the last day
- Much of the industry are having to make very difficult decisions about whether they need to reduce staffing hours, operating hours, whether they need to lay-off staff or close completely
- There is a huge concern about how long businesses can last with such little business. Reserves are extremely low and it’s a matter of weeks and not months for many.
- The industry feels that what they need is some relief in terms of bills such as rates and PAYE and also access to money.
- This is impacting all businesses, not just the small ones.
- Insurance companies not responding to business interruption clauses as businesses not being told to close
- We need to escalate the awareness of the impact this is having.
Remit of the group
- Provide a forum for consistent and comprehensive pan-Scotland analysis of the implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on tourism
- Act as the one-stop-shop communications channel for the Scottish tourism industry in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Ensure close working between VisitScotland, the Scottish Government, the Scottish tourism industry, health authorities and other relevant organisations and agencies
- Gather, share, facilitate, interpret and disseminate information as it becomes available
- Issue agreed messages to the industry and the media
- Offer business continuity advice to industry
- Agree relevant action and allocate responsibilities for this
Attending the first meeting: Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) | Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterer’s (ASSC) | Scottish destination management association (SDMA) | Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) | UK Hospitality | Lochaber Chamber of Commerce | Outer Hebrides Tourism | Wild Scotland | Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park | Edinburgh Airport | Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) | Business Gateway | Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) | South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE) | Scottish Enterprise (SE) | Scottish Development International (SDI) | Scottish Government | VisitScotland