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£104 MILLION TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY LIFELINE

Mon 21 Dec 20

Targeted support package for key sectors.

Tourism and hospitality businesses across Scotland are to benefit from a £104.3 million package of support in the New Year.

The funding is part of the short term response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations and follows lengthy discussions with industry to target support specifically where it is needed the most. 

It is part of the £185 million package previously announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

Further work will be urgently undertaken to establish what additional support is needed in light of the announcement to move mainland Scotland to level four and the Scottish islands to level three from Boxing Day.

Businesses required to close by law are currently able to claim up to £3,000 every four weeks through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

Areas set to benefit include:

  • £19.2 million to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses
  • £50.8 million for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 that have not received support from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Hotel Support Programme and some additional support to smaller businesses impacted by restrictions
  • £11.8 million for international inbound, coach tourism and domestic tour operators
  • £7 million for self-catering
  • £5 million for visitor attractions
  • £2.5 million for outdoor tourism
  • £2.3 million for hostels
  • £2 million for ski centres
  • £1.5 million for travelling show people ineligible for other support
  • £1.2 million for Destination Management Organisations
  • £1 million for B&Bs and guest houses excluded from the latest Non Domestic Rates scheme

Details and opening dates for all funding pots will be announced in due course.

Further information about eligibility requirements for the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

It’s been a particularly bruising year for our tourism and hospitality sectors. The COVID-19 crisis has shattered previously successful businesses and we are committed to doing everything possible to get them back on their feet. These funding streams seek to throw a lifeline to some sectors that we know are particularly vulnerable and may not have access to help from other sources.

We’ve already invested well over £2.3 billion to support businesses across Scotland, including 100% rates relief for pubs and restaurants but we know this is not enough. The restrictions, as necessary as they are, continue to have a profound effect and it is fair to say that tourism and hospitality businesses are feeling it more than most. This funding will provide a vital lifeline in the build up to what should be much of the industry’s busiest time of the year.

The funding aligns in the short term with many of the tourism taskforce’s recommendations and I am grateful to it for its work on this.

Clearly, in light of the enhanced restrictions announced at the weekend to control the spread of the virus, we will be undertaking further work on what additional support is needed by businesses, including for the longer term. There is a need to move quickly to ensure the sector is adequately supported and ready to go again, when the time is right.

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing

Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce

Having considered the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce report and recommendations, the Scottish Government has:

  • agreed to continue working with the industry to develop plans and pilot programmes to enable the full re-opening of the sector, in accordance with clinical and scientific advice
  • agreed that the Enterprise Agencies and VisitScotland should be commissioned to undertake work to develop a fully detailed and costed five year recovery plan, as well as an investor plan for the sector, to clearly set out the benefits of such investment
  • agreed to publish the Scottish Government’s response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations 
  • noted the ongoing financial support that would be critical to sector survival and recovery over the coming months and years and that a further update on the recovery plan and the financial position would be agreed by the Scottish Government in early 2021

We welcome today’s Scottish Government budget announcement outlining a £104 million package of targeted coronavirus (COVID-19) support available to the tourism and events industry. 

This funding will help a number of sectors which have so far received very little support and I’m pleased to see tour operators, self-catering businesses, hostels, outdoor tourism, ski centres and visitor attractions receiving specific help. VisitScotland will be administering some of these funds and we will announce when they will open as soon as possible as we understand people are desperate for support.

This news comes at a crucial time to support this vital part of the economy into 2021 as tourism, events and hospitality are faced with more uncertainty as we enter a period of tougher restrictions across Scotland. 

The most recent results of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) industry survey – published last week – paint a very sombre picture of the devastating impact the pandemic has had on Scottish tourism. 

The results showed that a fifth of all businesses still in operation have no cash reserves left and 50% only have cash to last the next three to six months. 18% of businesses have also stated that they do not qualify for any financial support. 

A thriving tourism industry is essential to lead Scotland’s recovery. It is a force for good by not only providing jobs and economic benefits to every corner of the country, but also bringing benefits to our wellbeing and society.

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead

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