Coronavirus: tourism group publishes ‘restart and recover’ plan

CLEAR guidelines for businesses on hygiene and social distancing and detailed recommendations for ongoing support for the industry are to be produced by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in the coming weeks.

The group, a partnership of public and private sector organisations including the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance, has published the final two phases of its ‘action plan’ to help the tourism industry reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown.

The ‘Restart’ and ‘Recover’ phases of the plan begin in June and will include a number of initiatives designed to aid businesses in reopening, as well as setting out plans for longer-term support for the industry.

The Restart phase will include detailed guidelines for businesses to help them reopen safely in line with public health requirements, recommendations for continued financial support for the sector and marketing campaigns to encourage consumers back into tourism and hospitality venues.

The Recover phase will see the establishment of a new ‘oversight group’ which will develop an ‘economic recovery action plan’ for the next two years.

Riddell Graham, director of industry and destination development at VisitScotland and chair of STERG, said: “This has been a real team effort, giving all the agencies within STERG an opportunity to refocus plans and redirect budget, as well as working alongside the tourism industry to work through daily issues.

“The plan is not set in stone but a moving feast with four key areas of focus: respond, reset, restart and recovery. It will continue to evolve in line with the scientific evidence and government advice on the reopening of the tourism industry.

“One particular issue within the sector is how to restart as a business with the new rules in place for social distancing and hygiene. This is an area STERG is looking at, working with key sector groups. We hope to get something out to the industry in the near future.”