Coach companies eligible for the Scottish Government’s recently announced ‘tourism top up’ scheme are those that have already received money from either round of the Scotland Coach Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund, administering body Visit Scotland has confirmed.
Subject to meeting qualifying criteria, each of those operators will receive a payment of £6,800 from the new COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity (Tourism) Fund. It is understood that this support is intended to help mitigate losses over four weeks across the festive season. Visit Scotland says eligible operators will be those that were open during the relevant period and which incurred a loss then.
The new support mechanism thus stands to be worth around £850,000 to the Scottish coach industry, which is one of six sectors that the up to £9m fund will benefit. Those businesses that are considered eligible for the additional support will be contacted by Visit Scotland via email.
One such operator has pointed out that while the further support is most welcome, it lost around £350,000 worth of work in the four and a half weeks to mid-January. However, the same business is seeing heavy interest already for the summer season and it has recorded strong tour bookings for those months.
In launching the ‘tourism top-up’ scheme, Visit Scotland says that it is “committed to ensuring that it is as simple as possible” for eligible organisations to access the money. “We are working to ensure that the funding goes to businesses in the quickest way possible,” the body adds.
Over two strands of the earlier scheme, 126 coach companies in Scotland were awarded sums that varied from £4,500 to £700,000. The average per-operator amount across both rounds was £76,817.