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Scenario planning toolkit

Wed 25 Nov 20

The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) wants to help you plan during these uncertain times and has created a scenario planning toolkit to do just that.

The purpose of this toolkit is to help businesses to plan, to work to address many different challenges they may likely yet face through 2021, and to help steer those businesses out through to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking forward, developing flexible strategies is one of the most important routes to recovery.

One valuable technique to prepare for an uncertain future is Scenario Planning. Scenarios are a powerful tool. They’re particularly useful in the development of strategies to navigate extreme events seen recently. Scenarios enable businesses to plot a course between the uncertainty and confusion which often strike in troubled times.

We have developed five scenarios suggesting how Scottish tourism could potentially evolve over the next 18 to 24 months. By reading and considering each scenario and by considering its implication on your customers, product, staff and suppliers, should this scenario develop, you will have a strategic response ready.

The desired outcome is to have a clearer, but also an adaptable approach to planning during these uncertain times.


Download the toolkit now

STERG Scenario Planning Toolkit

Published November 2020


Download (1,070Kb)

The five scenarios

  • Scenario one: The baseline scenario. 

    The Baseline Scenario is our “world as-it-is” interpretation of how tourism looked after it restarted following lockdown in July 2020. It represents our starting point from which to consider the other scenarios as they begin to deviate from this and as we look at changing consumer behaviour and business operating environments. 

  • Scenario two: The old normal

    In this scenario we see infection rates managed through the introduction of vaccine or societal compliance with regulations, so we begin to live COVID-19. This results in strong consumer confidence developing resulting in increasing tourism demand to pre COVID-19 levels. 

  • Scenario three: Doors open

    These remain challenging times for consumers. Concerns over possible COVID-19 infection, worries over household incomes and job security result in people watching their spending and where they go and what they do. 

  • Scenario four: Long chill

    This scenario assumes the implementation of physical distancing legislation, rolling localised lockdowns due to uncontrolled cases of infection, confusing regulation being introduced and then reversed has limited the capacity of tourism operators and had a lasting effect on confidence in travel among travellers. 

  • Scenario five: Five winters

    This could be described as the worst-case scenario. Following the equivalent of three to five quarters of “low season” levels of performance, brought on by a perfect storm of economic recession and rolling waves of infection and subsequent lockdowns, most parts of the economy are suffering from decline in consumer spend and business closures. 



You are welcome to download the toolkit and work through it independently, though you may also find it useful as a tool for discussion and input gathering as part of a team exercise with your staff.  

You may also consider that this could usefully be undertaken as a group of businesses with a common focus – in which case consider approaching your sector group or association perhaps? 

Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG)

Find out about STERG's latest actions in response to COVID-19 and the STERG National Action Plan

Latest STERG information and actions View STERG National Action Plan

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