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Tourism Recovery Recommendations

The Scottish Tourism Task Force (STRT) was formed as a short life working group, to provide independent recommendations for Scottish Ministers and the UK Government on the essential actions to support tourism and hospitality recovery in Scotland. The Task Force was established by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing and Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn and comprised members from the tourism sector, transport and aviation, the Chambers of Commerce, Banking, the unions and academia.

Over the course of three months the industry representatives of the Task Force have met collectively and in sectoral subgroups to consider a broad range of information and evidence from industry and the public sector to identify the key actions that will be needed to stimulate demand, support business recovery and employee retention and unlock investment.

These recommendations are drawn from the views of the industry representatives of the Scottish Tourism Task Force collected over a number of plenary and sub-group discussions led by Malcolm Roughead, CEO, VisitScotland, Marc Crothall, CEO, Scottish Tourism Alliance and Malcolm Buchanan, Chair of Scotland Board, RBS and should not be attributed as the views of any one individual or organisation.

A summary of the recommendations which were submitted to Scottish Ministers and UK Government for consideration are outlined in the report.

Immediate Actions For Scottish Government

  • Work with the sector on planning appropriate evidence based restrictions and proportionate, fair financial compensation arrangements if further lock downs are required.
  • Provide additional targeted grant support and advice to tourism and hospitality business who have either not been able to trade at all or sufficiently well enough to generate enough revenue to see them through the coming 6-9 months of off season.
  • Provide support to improve workplace safety and a skills development package to retain talent and develop leadership skills.
  • Extend Business Rates Holiday for another year targeted at sectors and regions most impacted.
  • Fund marketing support to boost visitor demand and increase visitor confidence at the right time.
  • Progress alternative options for robust Testing Regimes – to facilitate and drive international travel.
  • Support a request to UK Government for temporary removal of Air Passenger Duty to boost route competitiveness if this can be aligned with longer term Scottish Government Climate Change ambitions.

Immediate Actions For UK Government

  • Provide enhanced tailored support for the tourism/hospitality sectors (beyond what is offered via the Job Support Scheme).
  • Commit to a permanent VAT reduction for hospitality and an extension to help the broader supply chain beyond March 2021.
  • Review of other taxation measures to support the sector through recovery.
  • Enable investment for growth by reducing the cost of loans through the introduction of a government backed soft equity loan scheme.
  • Reconsider the policy to abolish Duty Free taxation in the UK.

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