Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing has announced an additional cash injection of £25 million for Scotland’s tourism industry.
The money, earmarked for schemes run by VistScotland, will be split between a business support fund for coach operators, as well as the marine and outdoor tourism restart fund, the visitor attractions support fund and the sector destination operational and market readiness fund.
The tour guides fund, the Scottish country sports tourism restart fund, the campervan and motorhome rental operators fund and two other funds aimed at tour operators will also benefit.
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Mr Ewing said: “We are committed to supporting Scotland’s vital tourism and hospitality sectors through the current restrictions so that we have a viable industry ready to trade when the time is right.
“This additional £25 million will boost existing funds this financial year and will support the short-term response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations.”
The Scottish Government previously announced more than £100 million in support for tourism firms in December.
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Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “The pandemic is having a long term and devastating impact on tourism and the industry will need significant support now and for some time into the future.
“For tourism to be truly accessible to all, we need to have a range of accommodation to suit any budget and hostels provide a unique kind of shared visitor experience that can create lifelong memories and friendships.
But social distancing measures and restrictions on household numbers mixing means it is very difficult for hostels to operate.
“Our focus for the immediate future has switched from marketing to funding to ensure that the nine funds we are administering get to businesses as quickly and efficiently as possible. Colleagues from across our organisation have been diverted from their usual roles to this vital task.”
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In a joint statement on behalf of Scottish Independent Hostels, Hostelling Scotland and Independent Hostels UK, a spokesperson said:
“On behalf of the Scottish hostel sector we would like to thank the Scottish Government for this dedicated financial support. It shows that they appreciate the severe difficulties which both individual hostels and hostelling itself are facing during the pandemic. This lifeline recognises the vital role hostels play in Scottish tourism and their contributions to the economy.
“We also want to thank VisitScotland for working with us to ensure the fund makes a difference to hostelling businesses and their communities.
“We will continue to work together as a sector and look forward to engaging constructively with the Scottish Government as we face the challenges that lie ahead.”
Businesses which meet all the eligibility criteria will be able to submit an application form from 12pm on 17 February to 12pm 2 March 2021 via VisitScotland.org.