A £6 million fund is being made available to support Scottish inbound tourism and businesses that promote and sell packages in international markets.  

The Scotland Inbound Tour Operators – Covid-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund is open to inbound operator and Destination Management Companies that manage travel packages.

The one-off fund will help provide financial stability over the next four to six months and to help firms prepare for late 2021 business.

The funding is part of a wider package of support for tourism and hospitality businesses from the Scottish government totalling £104.3 million. 

Businesses that rely on international visitors for income have been hit particularly hard by the impact of Covid-19, since the crisis began last year.

 The fund will be managed by VisitScotland, with input from the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Destination Management Association, the Scottish Incoming Golf Tourism Operators Association and UKinbound, however, applications can be made from non-members of these groups.

It is one of nine funding streams administered by Scotland’s national tourism organisation on behalf of the Scottish government.

VisitScotland have redeployed more than 100 staff from other roles to help process applications as quickly as possible.

Chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the tourism and events industries and they will need financial support for some time to come to help them recover.

“Ensuring as many businesses as possible survive and can recover is our main priority at present.

“International visitors are a hugely important part of our visitor economy and therefore it is critical the inbound industry is able to meet the demand when overseas travel can resume.

“As much of our available resources as possible are being dedicated to delivering the funding to businesses as quickly as possible.”

Scottish Destination Management Association chair Les Maitland said: “Despite our members’ revenues being typically down more than 90%, financial support to date has either been very limited or not available whatsoever.

“This funding package will help support the survival of businesses through to the spring when we hope the recovery will begin.

“To support that recovery we look forward to working with the Scottish government to develop a clear plan for restarting the international visitor economy in 2021 and for collaborative funding to market Scotland to the world.”