Scotland Tour Operators Fund - COVID-19

Support provided by Visit Scotland Scottish Government

What does this involve?

The criteria for the Scotland Inbound Tour Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund has widened and a new fund, the Scotland Day Tour Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund, has been introduced to support more Scotland-based businesses in the tour operator sector critical to Scotland’s tourism economy.

Due to the complexity and breadth of businesses within the sector, a two-strand approach to grant funding is necessary to meet the needs of the sector.  

The two strands are: 

  • Scotland Day Tour Operators - COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund: application deadline is 5pm on Thursday 11 March 2021
  • Scotland Inbound Tour Operators - COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund: application deadline is 5pm on Thursday 18 March 2021

The £15 million fund is being delivered by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and has been developed with input from the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Destination Management Association, the Scottish Incoming Golf Tour Operators Association, UK Inbound and the Scottish Independent Tour Operators Association. 

Am I eligible?

Scotland Day Tour Operators - COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund

The fund has been established to ensure that financial support goes to businesses offering day/multi-day experiences in Scotland.

The fund is open to businesses who have been operating for at least one full year financial year before 31 December 2020.

This fund is not open to:

  • online travel agents
  • retail travel agents
  • third party resellers
  • water-based day excursion operators
  • air/aerial-based excursions such as sea planes or hot air balloons
  • registered taxi license holders
  • registered private hire license holders who have recently received the grant payment of £1,500 administered through their local authority and announced by the Scottish Government on 18 January 2021
  • registered private hire license holders who cannot provide evidence that their sole remit is providing day/multi-day tour excursions
  • chauffeur companies that cannot provide evidence that their sole remit is providing day/multi-day tour excursions
  • outbound tour operators whose revenue consists of 50% or more products based outside of Scotland
  • professional conference organisers
  • event planning companies and organisers
  • exhibition companies
  • production companies
  • marketing
  • PR and communication groups
  • individual service
  • providers/suppliers to day/multi-day tour operators, such as freelance tour guides, visitor attractions, transport companies, venues, accommodation and restaurants

Scotland Inbound Tour Operators - COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund

The fund has been established to ensure that financial support goes to businesses operating in Scotland as an inbound tour operator and /or destination management company (DMC), promoting and selling packaged products to international markets.

The fund is open to businesses who are fully compliant with the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018.

This fund is not open to:

  • online travel agents
  • retail travel agents
  • third party resellers
  • outbound tour operators
  • professional conference organisers
  • event planning companies and organisers
  • exhibition companies, production companies
  • marketing, PR and communication groups
  • individual service providers/suppliers to inbound tour operators/DMCs – this includes day tours/excursions, tour guides, visitor attractions, transport companies, venues, accommodations and restaurants

What does this cost?

This is a free service.

Who is this for?

The fund will specifically support Scottish businesses who promote and sell package holidays to Scotland or day tours in Scotland.

How long does this take?

Scotland Day Tour Operators - COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund

  • The fund opened for applications on Thursday 4 March at midday.* 
  • The fund will close for applications on Thursday 11 March at 5pm.

*The platform used for the online application form will be temporarily unavailable between 7pm and 10pm on 4 March, due to maintenance. Please ensure any applications started prior to this time are submitted before 7pm as any completed during this time might not be processed. Access to the form will resume at 10pm on Thursday 4 March.

Scotland Inbound Tour Operators - COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund

  • The fund opened for applications on Thursday 4 March at midday.
  • The fund will close for applications on Thursday 18 March at 5pm.

Important information

It is anticipated that there will be a high demand for these funds across the sector.

The amount awarded to each applicant will be determined by the eligibility criteria and supporting information provided.

Applications WILL NOT be assessed on a first come first serve basis.

There will be an application assessment process before the final decision is made. If your application is rejected, you can appeal the decision.

Both funds offer a one-off grant to support businesses.

For the Scotland Day Tour Operators Fund, guidance has been revised around the Taxi/Private Hire Driver Support Fund Grant Award. We can advise that businesses can retain their Taxi/Private Hire Driver Support Fund grant award even if they are successful in applying to the Scotland Day Tour Operators Fund.

 

Next steps

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

Support provided by Visit Scotland Scottish Government

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