Commitment to work with sector to tackle challenges.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop has outlined a multi-million pound package of measures to help support Scotland’s world-class tourism industry.
The sector is an important part of the Scottish economy, employing more than 200,000 workers and hosting millions of visitors every year from all over the world.
Amid increasing costs and the ongoing threat of leaving the European Union, the Scottish Government has announced it will work with the industry to help it to continue to deliver high-quality, value-for-money and memorable experiences across the country, and supporting the growth of a skilled workforce.
Specific commitments from the Programme for Government 2019-20 include:
- An additional £3 million in 2020-21 to continue the highly successful Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, enhancing the visitor experience at our iconic rural and island tourist sites and taking our total investment to £9 million over three years
- Investing a further £1 million in forest tourism in the South of Scotland by 2021, supporting work to establish Scotland as an adventure tourism destination and to encourage sustainable tourism
- Funding the restoration of Lossiemouth East Beach Footbridge, enabling safe access to the beach and protecting jobs and businesses as we head towards Year of Coasts and Waters 2020
- Creating a free open public wi-fi system at 10 sites on the North Coast 500 route, providing tourists and residents with increased internet connectivity all year round
- Launching a new tourism strategy, developed in partnership with the sector, followed by an action plan next spring
Ms Hyslop said:
“Our tourism industry is of crucial importance to the Scottish economy.
“We are committed to working with the sector to support them through this uncertain time and ensure that they can continue to offer high-quality experiences for visitors while minimising the impact on the environment and the lives of those who live here all year round.
“People choose to visit Scotland for our culture, heritage, scenery and world-class attractions, and we should always seek to diversify that offer. That is why we have been working with the industry to place Scotland as a top destination for adventure tourism and those seeking forest trails.
“We will also increase efforts to spread the benefits of tourism across all of Scotland, and ensure communities from Lossiemouth to Luss can reap the rewards of people looking to enjoy our wonderful country.”
Other actions contained in the Programme for Government include:
Agri-tourism monitor farm programme
We have established an agri-tourism monitor farm programme to help farms, estates and crofts use food tourism as a sustainable contribution to their businesses. The first four agri-tourism projects started this year in Shetland, Uist, East Lothian and West Dunbartonshire.
Creation of a Scottish UNESCO digital trail
Launching a Scottish UNESCO digital trail, providing an online experience featuring all of Scotland’s UNESCO sites.
We will provide an additional £400,000 this year for North Ayrshire’s Coig project. This will result in a total investment of £700,000 since 2018 for routes giving visitors the chance to enjoy the area’s islands, coastal landscapes, harbours and beaches.
Islands Passport (YoCW)
To further encourage visitors to more of Scotland’s inhabited islands, we will launch the new Islands Passport early in 2020.
Develop an action plan to stem rural depopulation
We will develop an action plan to support repopulation of our rural and island communities and work with partners to test approaches using small scale pilots in rural Scotland. Our ‘Stay in Scotland’ campaign will work with rural businesses and industries to promote it to employees and we will showcase Scotland as a desirable place to work and live to recruitment agencies at home and overseas.
Aviation – decarbonisation
We will work to decarbonise scheduled flights within Scotland by 2040. This will position Scotland at the forefront of innovation in advanced aerospace technologies, and is a visible global signal of our commitment to green tourism.
Full Programme for Government 2019-20