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25/06/20 00:01

New tourism taskforce

Group meets to consider sector’s recovery.

A new taskforce created to drive forward the recovery of Scotland’s vital tourism sector is to meet for the first time.

The Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce (STRT) is made up of more than 30 businesses with experience from across the industry. It is co-chaired by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing and Business Minister Jamie Hepburn.

The taskforce will meet regularly in the coming weeks to provide strategic advice on recovering from the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). Its creation follows a package of measures including the recently published tourism and hospitality guidance and a business support package worth more than £2.3 billion.

The taskforce is to agree its key priorities but will broadly look to:

  • develop a domestic marketing campaign to promote the staycation market
  • undertake an urgent review of access to funding support including addressing gaps and considering future stimulus packages at both Scottish and UK level
  • evaluate the investment and ownership models of larger hotels chains and businesses
  • consider necessary training and skills development to support tourism and hospitality staff
  • commission early restart and recovery plans for the event sector
  • generate public conversation about tourism and the benefits for local and rural communities

Speaking ahead of the Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Committee, Mr Ewing said:

“Scotland’s tourism and hospitality sector has been hit hard by this pandemic and we do not underestimate the crisis this has created. The Scottish Government has been doing everything in its power to support the sector through the challenges it faces.

“We’re continuing to listen to industry and exploring how we can help. That job is not yet finished and we are looking at what further support can be made available to tourism and hospitality businesses.

“Today’s meeting of the STRT is a key milestone in the recovery of tourism and hospitality in Scotland. A range of organisations from across this diverse sector will come together to share ideas and expertise on how we can overcome the challenges COVID-19 continues to present.”

 Background

The taskforce is expected to publish a report on recovery by the end of September. STRT is not responsible for delivery of the agreed recovery plans – these will be actioned through the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) and its member organisations. 

 Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for retail, tourism and hospitality customers