Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations published

3rd November 2020

The Taskforce was set up by the Scottish Government to look at what priority rescue measures both the Scottish and UK governments can take to bolster tourism’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Its wide ranging membership includes the Chief Executive of Cairngorm Chamber of Commerce representing the Scottish Chambers of Commerce network and Malcolm Roughead from VisitScotland, who will be joining Chamber members at its next online Chamber Chat in November.

The Taskforce’s recommendations, which will now be considered by the Scottish Government, include working closely with the sector on necessary planning, advice and adequate compensation packages if evidence based Covid operating 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 and the creation of a skills development package to retain talent and enhance staff leadership skills

The Taskforce has also said that the UK Government should consider a series of financial measures including further tailored support for the sector beyond what is offered by the current Job Support Scheme, a reversal of the decision to remove duty free shopping and extending the VAT reduction for hospitality and its large supply chain.

Commenting on the report, Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “This report does not require much consideration from the Scottish Government: they are very sensible and obvious measures to provide relief and hope to a sector that has been hit hard by the pandemic. The Scottish Government must act on the recommendations now and move quickly to implement the changes that are within its direct control and work in tandem with the UK Government to get the others signed off and actioned. On airport testing, for example, UK Airports, including Edinburgh, have been saying for months that viable and secure testing regimes can be introduced to facilitate international travel but all too often the response from government when asked to discuss this has been lukewarm. That is unacceptable and needs to change. Urgency is the byword to save an industry that is vital for Scotland.”

Click here to read the report

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