The Scottish Tourism Recovery Task Force has published its recommendations for supporting the sector’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Task Force was charged with looking at what priority rescue measures both the Scottish and UK governments can take to bolster recovery. The group’s recommendations, which will now be carefully considered by the Scottish Government include:
- working closely with the sector on necessary planning, advice, and adequate compensation packages if evidence-based restrictions are required
- facilitating international travel by progressing alternative options for robust COVID-19 testing regimes
- developing a package of short term measures, including marketing support and sectoral advice via VisitScotland to boost demand and increase visitor confidence
- extending the Business Rates Holiday for specific affected sectors and regions by another year
- creation of a skills development package to retain talent and enhance staff leadership skills
The UK Government is asked to consider a series of financial measures including further tailored support for the sector beyond what is offered by the current Job Support Scheme, reconsider the removal of duty-free shopping, extend the VAT reduction for hospitality and the supply chain, reduce the cost of loans via a government backed soft equity loan scheme and a review of taxation.
Welcoming the recommendations, Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“I am very grateful to the Scottish Tourism Alliance and the wider Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce for undertaking this vital piece of work. The report aligns with our ambitions in Scotland Outlook 2030 and highlights key themes regarding sustainable business, the importance of our people and communities, and green tourism.
“Scotland’s world-class tourism offering has faced unimaginable challenges this year, with no clear end in sight. The Scottish Government has worked extremely hard to provide critical support to the industry. We’ve engaged closely with the sector, even beyond the task force, to listen to exactly what support they need and we have strived to provide where possible. These recommendations take this support to the next level.
“Of course, there are also specific recommendations for the UK Government. They must step up and provide the much needed finance the sector requires to get through the coming winter and beyond. I urge the UK Government to consider the recommendations in detail and work with us to support recovery.”
Scottish Tourism Alliance Chief Executive Marc Crothall said:
“The devastating impact of this pandemic will make recovery incredibly challenging, if not questionable, without the assurance of continued targeted support from both the Scottish and UK Governments. It is imperative they work together with the industry to take action now in supporting and implementing the recommendations set out in the Task Force report to protect our passionate people, to rebuild our diverse businesses, to restore our thriving places, and reimagine our memorable experiences. We are an ambitious sector, renowned for its’ resilience and one that can and will, if these Task Force recommendations are supported, drive the nations’ economic recovery and achieve our collective aspiration of being the world leader in 21st century tourism, our shared vision in Scotland Outlook 2030”
Issued by: Scottish Tourism Alliance