Call for UK to support Scots tourism sector amid pandemic

Ministers are calling for more support for the tourism sector in a letter to the UK chancellor.

The Scottish Government is calling on more support for the tourism sector from the UK Government.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes are calling for an urgent meeting to discuss extending support for Scottish tourism until spring 2021.

Ewing and Forbes have asked for a review of VAT rates, as well as extensions to the job retention scheme, self-employed income support scheme and any further tourism, hospitality and events business support.

In the letter, they write: “We are writing to outline the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality and tourism sector in Scotland, and to ask for your urgent support to develop measures to mitigate the worst impacts of this crisis.

“The Scottish Government welcomes the measures that the UK Government has taken to help support businesses since the onset of the pandemic. The CJRS and the SEISS have been valuable as short-term solutions, however, they are insufficient to support the hospitality and tourism sector into recovery.”

The letter added: “The seasonal nature of tourism means that many businesses rely on a successful summer season to provide the revenue which sustains the business throughout the rest of the year.

“The July – September period accounted for almost 38% of domestic and international overnight spend in Scotland in 2019, while April – June represented a further 28%.

“Our businesses stand to lose a substantial part of their trade for this year on top of the income lost through the lockdown period and may not see a return to demand until 2021.”

The country’s tourism industry has suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with events including the Edinburgh Festival cancelled this year.

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