Inbound Operator Collaborative Marketing Fund

Support provided by Visit Scotland

What does this involve?

The deadline to apply is 5pm on 30 September 2021.

This fund focuses on COVID-19 pandemic recovery for destination management companies (DMCs) and tour operators who offer overnight visits and are based in Scotland. It will allow eligible companies to harness the latest consumer insights to:

  • develop and market responsible tourism to and around Scotland to international visitors
  • encourage international tour operators to add responsible travel to their programmes
  • support the recovery of the tourism sector in line with the Tourism 2030 strategy and Scotland’s ambition to be a responsible tourism destination

Successful applicants will be expected to develop and deliver appropriate itineraries that reflect responsible tourism and an associated marketing plan that meets the assessment criteria.

Am I eligible?

The fund is open to applications from eligible DMCs and tour operators based in Scotland who offer overnight visits. For the purposes of this fund:

  • A destination management company or DMC is a business that provides a one-stop shop for all travel products (excluding flights) and caters to specific or multiple international markets. It does not sell directly to the consumer but works purely on a business-to-business basis - that is, to a tour operator, travel agent or travel advisor.
  • A tour operator is a business which specialises in developing holiday programmes and itineraries for direct sale to end international clients or to international travel agent networks. Tour operators can be generalists which offer tour packages published in catalogues and sold through travel agents, or they can be a FIT (Flexible Independent Traveller) tour operator which sells tours directly to the end international client.

Eligible applicants can apply in one of the following categories:

  • Category 1 - business to business (B2B) marketing
  • Category 2 - business to consumer (B2C) marketing

Eligible applicants can apply for support for the costs of marketing new responsible tourism itineraries internationally that drive tourism recovery in 2022/23. 

The proposed itineraries must not have previously been offered by the applicant (or their partner tour operators) in their current form. However, applicants can propose existing itineraries that have been adapted or amended to meet the requirements of the fund.

Successful applicants will have to demonstrate the economic impact (number and value of bookings) of their proposition as part of the application and assessment process.

Applicants will be expected to develop and deliver a strong visitor proposition, or unique selling point, in their proposed itineraries and associated marketing plans. This should stimulate demand for responsible tourism products.

It could be a seasonal proposition, or a proposition that promotes a particular theme, or a unique collection of responsible tourism product experiences that will appeal to international visitors. 

The Scottish based DMC/tour operator can either work with in-market tour operators/retailers to develop an eligible marketing plan or promote directly to consumers in the selected source market(s).

Note that this is a pilot programme for Scottish-based operators with experience of working in international markets. It is meant to demonstrate that there’s appetite for this type of itinerary, and drive confidence to continue with these itineraries in the future. As such, traditional Scottish itineraries with no responsible tourism experiences will not receive support from this fund.

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?

Destination management companies (DMCs) and tour operators who offer overnight visits and are based in Scotland.

How long does this take?

The fund is being launched in a phased approach:

  • The guidance document is available from 12 noon on 14 September 2021.
  • The fund will open for applications at 12 noon on 23 September 2021.
  • The deadline to apply is 5pm on 30 September 2021.

Important information

Please read the guidance fully – there is a list of pre-qualifying questions on the VisitScotland website that you can go through to ensure you are eligible to apply.

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

Applications will go through an initial eligibility check to see if the eligibility criteria have been met. All applications that pass this initial check will then be assessed by a team of VisitScotland staff and rated against each of the criteria. 

If your application fails to achieve at least an 'acceptable' rating against all of the assessment criteria, you will have one opportunity to provide clarification and resubmit your application by the date specified. This new application will then be reassessed by VisitScotland.

After all applications have been assessed, a panel will make the final decisions and decide the levels of award.

If your application is rejected, you can appeal the decision.

Next steps

Go to the VisitScotland website to read the full guidance and apply.

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