Multi-million hotels fund announced

Funding package is designed to provide “some security” to larger hotels until next season

LARGER hotels across Scotland will have the chance to apply for a share of a new, £14 million fund created by the Scottish Government.

The new Hotel Recovery Programme, announced today (July 29), will allow eligible businesses to apply for grants of up to £250,000 in addition to “a suite of wrap-around business support and advice”.

It will be administered jointly by the Scottish Government’s enterprise agencies. Information on the criteria for the fund and how to apply will be announced in late August.

Tourism secretary Fergus Ewing said the Scottish Government “is doing everything in its power to support the tourism industry, however without significant borrowing powers at our disposal this action will always be limited”.

“We recognise the important contribution the hotel sector makes to tourism and the wider Scottish economy, supporting approximately 46,000 jobs across the country,” said Ewing.

“Scotland is home to many of the world’s iconic hotels and they, like much of the sector, have suffered considerably this year from the impacts of coronavirus.

“The Hotel Recovery Programme is a dedicated funding package designed to safeguard jobs in these establishments and offer some security until the new tourist season begins in summer 2021.”

Scottish Tourism Alliance chief executive, Marc Crothall, said the new fund “will be extremely welcome news, particularly for the hotels eligible for this support, many of which will have been unable to access grant funding to date”.

“Hotel occupancy levels across the country continue to track significantly below the break-even levels needed to meet the day to day overheads of running a business and the forward outlook is no different,” said Crothall.

“The £14m pot of cash, whilst sizeable, is however limited and there won’t be enough to support all the hotels that are in need of immediate financial support to help them survive, recover and maintain their previous staffing levels.

“It remains the case that without this support and other forms of longer-term support and relief in the future, many of Scotland’s hotels will remain at significant risk of being forced into permanent closure which will result in many more thousands of jobs still being lost.”