COVID-19 Marine and Outdoor Tourism Restart Fund Round 2

Support provided by Visit Scotland

What does this involve?

Round 2 of the COVID-19 Marine and Outdoor Tourism Restart Fund specifically supports Scottish-based businesses in the marine and outdoor tourism sector which have faced hardship due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The fund aims to help keep them in business as they restart operations.

Round 1 of the fund was open for applications between 2 February and 9 February 2021. It targeted operators in Scotland whose turnover in 2019/20 from tourism activity was more than 75% of their total turnover.

Following feedback from the industry and the recognition of a funding gap for marine and outdoor operators, Round 2 has been created to support marine and outdoor tourism operators in Scotland who meet the eligibility criteria.

Due to the complexity and variety of businesses within the sector, a 2-strand approach to funding is necessary to meet its needs. Businesses may only apply to one strand.

The 2 strands are:

1. Marine and boating tourism operators

2. Outdoor wildlife, adventure and activity sector tourism businesses

What are the key changes for Round 2 of the fund?

  • a minimum of 40% of an applicant's annual turnover must be related to tourism activity
  • these activities must occur in Scotland
  • airborne activities are now included

This £800,000 fund is being delivered by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, with development input from Sail Scotland and Wild Scotland. VisitScotland is the awarding body for the fund. This money is part of the £104.3 million Scottish Government package – no new money has been provided for funding.

Am I eligible?

Yes, if you are a responsible tourism operator in Scotland who provides a sustainable outdoor-related activity for visitors on land, in the air or in the marine environment.

This encompasses a broad span of activity types, such as wildlife watching, charter and day boat trips, sailing holidays, bushcraft and survival, canoeing, mountaineering, hot air ballooning and paragliding.

Strand 1 - marine and boating tourism operators

This strand applies to businesses which operate or intend to re-commission and operate a vessel for commercial tourism use or charter. The vessel will need to be prepared and equipped to conform with the MCA/Council certification or the Boat Safety Scheme for inland waters.

This strand will also support the recommissioning of seasonal visitor moorings and visitor pontoons.

Eligible businesses:

  • bareboat charters
  • skippered charter or sail/cruise holidays
  • day boat trips
  • visitor moorings and pontoons

Not eligible:

  • workboats
  • pilot boats
  • supply or safety boats
  • survey boats
  • water taxis or ferries
  • moored hotels or houseboats
  • moorings and pontoons let for residential, seasonally let or longer stays
  • marine and boating tourism operators who were successful in Round 1 of the fund

Strand 2 - outdoor wildlife, adventure and activity sector tourism businesses

Eligible businesses:

On-land and non-motorised water activity operators, activity providers and sole traders who deliver one of the following activities for tourism in Scotland are eligible: 

  • wildlife watching and nature-based activity
  • walking and mountaineering
  • cycling and mountain biking
  • pony trekking
  • water and coastal activities
  • airborne activities
  • other outdoor activities

Not eligible:

  • retail outlets
  • equipment hire
  • outdoor education centres
  • self-employed/freelance guides who work for a number of businesses
  • riding schools providing lessons
  • field/country sports
  • domestic and farm animal/agritourism experiences
  • urban walking tours
  • urban cycle tours
  • indoor and outdoor sports activities, such as football, golf, tennis and netball
  • tour operators that do not directly deliver activities
  • outdoor/indoor activity/sports clubs, leisure and training centres
  • dry ski slopes
  • karting centres
  • light aircraft and microlight flight training schools
  • wildlife, adventure and activity sector businesses which were successful in Round 1 of this fund

General criteria

A minimum of 40% of an applicant's annual turnover must be related to tourism activity, and this activity must occur in Scotland.

If a business applied for and was successful in Round 1 of this fund, it is not eligible for additional funding in Round 2.

Businesses which applied in Round 1 but were rejected because they did not meet the eligibility criteria for that round can apply for Round 2 if they meet the eligibility criteria set out in this guidance. These businesses will need to submit a new application to be considered for Round 2.

Businesses can only be successful and receive a grant award from one of the funds announced by the Scottish Government on or since 15 December 2020, regardless of the body which is administering the fund. The tourism announcement was made by the Scottish Government on 21 December 2020.

Read the full guidance on eligibility on the VisitScotland website before you apply.

What does this cost?

This is a free service.

Who is this for?

Marine and boating tourism operators and outdoor wildlife, adventure and activity sector tourism businesses in Scotland which were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long does this take?

Fund guidance was available from midday on 1 September 2021.

The fund opened to applications at midday on 8 September 2021 - applications should be completed on VisitScotland.org.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on 29 September 2021.

Important information

You can only apply under one strand of this fund – either marine tourism or outdoor activity.

A minimum of 40% of an applicant's annual turnover must be related to tourism activity, and this activity must occur in Scotland.

Applications will not be assessed on a first come first serve basis.

An application assessment process will take place before the final decision is made. If your application is rejected, you can appeal the decision.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on 29 September 2021.

Next steps

Go to the VisitScotland website to read the full guidance and if eligible, apply.

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