Hope for Scottish coach operators as £104m tourism and hospitality fund lifeline announced

In a targeted support package for key sectors, tourism and hospitality businesses across Scotland are to benefit from a £104.3m package of support in the New Year, the Scottish Government announced today.

Of the total fund, £11.8m is being allocated to “international inbound, coach tourism and domestic tour operators.”

It is not yet clear how much of the £11.8m will be allocated to coach operators, although when the overall £185m package for tourism was announced on 9 December by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, the sum was said to be “almost £6m”.

Details and opening dates for all funding pots will be announced “in due course” says the Scottish Government.

“Further work will be urgently undertaken to establish what additional support is needed in light of the announcement to move mainland Scotland to level 4 and the Scottish islands to level 3 from Boxing Day,” says the Scottish Government.

The funding is part of the short-term response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce recommendations and “follows lengthy discussions with industry to target support specifically where it is needed the most.”

Businesses required to close by law are currently able to claim up to £3,000 every four weeks through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

Areas set to benefit include:

  • £19.2m to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses
  • £50.8m for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 that have not received support from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Hotel Support Programme and some additional support to smaller businesses impacted by restrictions
  • £11.8m for international inbound, coach tourism and domestic tour operators
  • £7m for self-catering
  • £5m for visitor attractions
  • £2.5m for outdoor tourism
  • £2.3m for hostels
  • £2m for ski centres
  • £1.5m for travelling-show people ineligible for other support
  • £1.2m for Destination Management Organisations
  • £1m for B&Bs and guest houses excluded from the latest Non-Domestic Rates scheme

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing says: “It’s been a particularly bruising year for our tourism and hospitality sectors. The COVID-19 crisis has shattered previously successful businesses and we are committed to doing everything possible to get them back on their feet. These funding streams seek to throw a lifeline to some sectors that we know are particularly vulnerable and may not have access to help from other sources.

“We’ve already invested well over £2.3bn to support businesses across Scotland, including 100% rates relief for pubs and restaurants but we know this is not enough. The restrictions, as necessary as they are, continue to have a profound effect and it is fair to say that tourism and hospitality businesses are feeling it more than most. This funding will provide a vital lifeline in the build up to what should be much of the industry’s busiest time of the year.

“The funding aligns in the short term with many of the tourism taskforce’s recommendations and I am grateful to it for its work on this.

“Clearly, in light of the enhanced restrictions announced at the weekend to control the spread of the virus, we will be undertaking further work on what additional support is needed by businesses, including for the longer term. There is a need to move quickly to ensure the sector is adequately supported and ready to go again, when the time is right.” 


Having considered the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce report and recommendations, the Scottish Government says that it has:

  • Agreed to continue working with the industry to develop plans and pilot programmes to enable the full re-opening of the sector, in accordance with clinical and scientific advice
  • Agreed that the Enterprise Agencies and VisitScotland should be commissioned to undertake work to develop a fully detailed and costed five-year recovery plan, as well as an investor plan for the sector, to clearly set out the benefits of such investment
  • Agreed to publish the Scottish Government’s response to the Scottish Tourism Recovery Task Force recommendations 
  • Noted the ongoing financial support that would be critical to sector survival and recovery over the coming months and years and that a further update on the recovery plan and the financial position would be agreed by the Scottish Government in early 2021

Further information about eligibility requirements for the Strategic Framework Business Fund.

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