Scottish coach operators are being offered £10 million in Covid-19 support as part of a £104.3 million government fund for tourism and hospitality businesses.

The one-off fund, available for applications from February 16 until February 23, will specifically provide support to Scottish-based businesses in the coach tourism and coach private hire sector.

They must be operating the newest and most environmentally friendly fleet with eight or more seats

It is one of nine funding streams administered by VisitScotland on behalf of the Edinburgh government.

“The loss of international visitors, restrictions on travel and social distancing measures have meant many coach operators are without bookings or have been unable to trade because it is not financially viable to run under capacity,” the tourist body said.

“The money being made available aims to cover fixed costs that businesses continue to incur when they cannot operate, and to help prepare them for reopening when it is safe to do so.

VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: “We appreciate the devastating impact the pandemic has had on all of our important tourism and events businesses, affecting every corner of our industry and area of the country.

“VisitScotland is diverting our focus from marketing to funding for the next three months to ensure that desperately needed help is delivered quickly, to those most in need.

“Some in the industry have been able to generate revenue as a result of offering digital experiences online or operating within the restrictions to take advantage of the increase in domestic visitors.

“Unfortunately, coach operators have had little or no income through either of these means. Hopefully this fund will go some way to meet their immediate financial needs until coach tours become financially viable again.”

Paul White, Scotland director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “This fund will serve as a much-needed lifeline for many CPT coach operator members, many of whom have been unable to trade to any great degree since winter 2019.

“The fund will help meet some of the substantial costs incurred over these past 10 months of inactivity.