Applications for grants for coach operators in Scotland affected by Covid will open in “the first week of February”, says VisitScotland, which is administering the fund on behalf of the Scottish Government.
While it is not yet known what the criteria will be for eligibility, nor the amounts of potential grants, Scotland is the first part of the UK to include coach operators in a specific Covid support package.
Previous announcements have said that “almost £6m” will be available to support coach operators, from a £11.4m fund allocated to “international inbound, coach tourism and domestic tour operators.”
It follows the opening of the separate Taxi and Private Hire Fund scheme in Scotland earlier this week.
Licensed taxi or private hire drivers experiencing financial challenge as a result of Covid “may be eligible” to receive a one-off grant of £1,500. Those who are eligible are being contacted by their local authority starting from 18 January 2021.
At the end of last year, the Scottish Government announced that tourism and hospitality businesses across Scotland were to benefit from a £104.3m Scottish Government package.
This funding will help a number of tourism and events businesses in key sectors who have received little or no support so far.
Visit Scotland will be administering nine of the Scottish Government funds and will move its focus from marketing to funding and support for the next three months to “ensure that desperately needed help is delivered quickly, to those most in need.”
It has moved more than 100 staff from other tasks to get these funding streams organised and process them as quickly as possible.
It will announce more details about how to apply on VisitScotland.org in due course, but its aim is to have all funds launched by mid-February.
Funds being delivering by Visit Scotland
- Pivotal Event Businesses Fund – in progress, closed to Expressions of Interest .
- The Sector Destination Operational & Market Readiness Fund – live
- Scotland Inbound Tour Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund – Expressions of interest open 22 January
- Outdoor Fund, which has two strands: marine tourism and outdoor tourism – last week of January
- Event Industry Support Fund – late January/early February
- Coach Operators Fund – first week of February
- Visitor attractions Fund – week commencing 8 February
- Hostels Fund – week commencing 15 February
These nine funds present a ‘clean sheet’ – so those who have had COVID-19 related funding before can apply again. A business bank account will not be required – although evidence of running a business will.
Information about the funds will be communicated across the industry and with partners and information on how to apply will be on VisitScotland.org
Says Visit Scotland, Director of Industry & Destination Development, Riddell Graham: “We understand how tough things are for the tourism and events industry at the moment and know that the impact of the ongoing pandemic is making business survival increasingly difficult. There is therefore a need to deliver funding as quickly as possible.
“We have huge sympathy for businesses across Scotland, and we continue to feed concerns back to the Scottish Government through the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group – which we chair – and the Event Industry Advisory Group in the hope that more support will be made available in the future.”
All of the funding packages are being delivered with “input from the tourism industry and sector groups to ensure we get the right support to the right people,” adds Visit Scotland.
It adds: “A thriving tourism and events industry is essential to lead Scotland’s pandemic recovery. It is a force for good by not only providing jobs and economic benefits to every corner of the country, but also bringing benefits to our wellbeing and society.
Should you have any questions, please get in touch on [email protected].
Other Scottish Government Funds
In addition to the Scottish Governments Strategic Framework Business Fund, there are additional funds to target financial support at those businesses and sectors that are not eligible.
This is a list of these funds – including the nine funds being administered by VisitScotland.
These targeted grant schemes are now live:
- Taxi and Private Hire Fund
- Creative Freelancer Hardship Fund
- Museums Recovery and Resilience Fund Top up
- Travelling Show People Support Fund
- Culture Collective Fund
- Youth Arts Access Fund
- Creative Communities
- Sector and Destination Operational and Market Readiness Fund
- Scotland Pivotal Event Business Fund
Funds going live this month:
- Mobile Close Contact Services Support Fund including driving instructors and hairdressers
- Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund
- Outdoor Tourism Sector Recommissioning Fund
- Travel Agents Fund
- Wedding Sector Support Fund
- Events Industry Support Fund
- Grassroots Music Venue Stabilisation Fund
- Brewer Support Fund
- Indoor Football Centres Fund
Funds due to go live in February are:
- Tour Operators Fund
- Visitor Attractions Fund
- Ski Centre Support Fund
- Visitor Accommodation Hostels Fund
- Large (7 or more guests) Self-Catering Grant
- Exclusive Use Grant Self-Catering