VisitScotland shifts its focus from marketing to funding and key parts of the tourism and events sector are in line for more financial support
VisitScotland has confirmed its focus over the next three months will be switching from marketing to funding as the tourism industry continues to reel from the effects of lockdown. It’s immediate priority will be administering the allocation of some of the covid support funding for the sector that was announced by the Scottish Government before Christmas. This will be targeted at specific sectors through a series of individual Funds. Two of the eight new Funds have already closed to applicants while a third for Inbound Tour Operators opened for expressions of interest on 22nd January. The rest of the Funds – Marine & Outdoor Tourism, Event Industry Support, Coach Operators, Visitor Attractions and Hostels – open for expressions of interest or applications from late January through to mid-February. Visit the VisitScotland website for further information.
Financial help for Large Self-Catering Grants and the Exclusive Use Grants was also included as part of the tourism and hospitality funding package the Scottish Government announced in December and details have been confirmed by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing. Eligible self–catering businesses will be able to apply for one off grant support of £2,000. Eligible exclusive use premises can apply for £10,000 in grant support. All self-catering properties, B&Bs and guest houses that are eligible at level four for Non Domestic Rates relief can now apply to the Strategic Framework Business Fund, which provides grants for businesses required to close by law as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. In most cases this will be payments of £2,000 every four weeks. Support equivalent to the Strategic Framework Business Fund will also now be available to B&Bs which do not pay Non Domestic Rates but pay council tax. Further information here.
Further good news for tourism has come from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund announcement of a grant of £375k to the Fife Outdoor Tourism Infrastructure Project, a partnership between Fife Council and the Fife Coast & Countryside Trust. Further information on the work this will support in Fife can be found here.
Commenting on this additional funding, Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “The additional money will be welcomed by the businesses and organisations that get it. And it is also a positive step that money is being targeted at specific sub-sectors of the industry. But there still isn’t enough overall financial support from the Scottish Government for businesses, not just in tourism, and money that is available isn’t reaching companies quickly enough in too many cases. Unless more money is available and in business bank accounts quicker, the economic and employment fall-out from covid will be higher and will take much longer to rectify. Our members are meeting Fergus Ewing soon and I am sure they will also be stressing these points to him.” Click here for further information on the meeting.