Supporting Tourism through COVID-19
Rural Economy and Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing has pledged financial support following the closure of businesses including cafes, pubs, restaurants, cinemas and leisure centres.
A £2.2 billion package of measures to help business from 1 April has already been announced by the Economy Secretary.
Key actions for hospitality and tourism include a full year’s non-domestic rates relief for the sector, £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief and £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000, including self-catering accommodation and caravans.
Mr Ewing said:
“This will almost certainly be the worst period for Scottish tourism in living memory. Events outwith our control mean that the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of people are at risk, and that serious and prolonged harm will be done to a sector which has been a genuine success story for our economy.
“The Scottish Government is treating this as an economic emergency with a scale and duration that is difficult to predict. We feel the pain of the tourism sector and those who work within it, and we are doing all we can to minimise impact of COVID-19 and ensure that everyone eligible for support is able to access it quickly.
“Last week businesses received further information about the Job Retention Scheme for furloughed employees. However, we know many of those working in the tourism sector are self-employed and whilst we welcome the Chancellor’s recent announcement of support for this group, we are concerned about the time it will take before people will receive payments.
“Rates relief and small business grants will help but we must work together to preserve the businesses, families and livelihoods which depend on tourism, and keep Scotland as a key tourist destination for years to come.
“We are working closely with our partners, including the Scottish Tourism Alliance, as well as colleagues in the UK Government and other devolved nations to achieve the best possible outcome.”
Self-catering accommodation and caravans will be eligible for both the one-off £10,000 grant for small businesses and the one-off £25,000 grant for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors where this is the primary source of earned income and the property is let for 140 days or more.