Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) Publishes Updated Action Plan

Fri 29 May 20

The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) has published the final phases of its National Action Plan focusing on a safe re-opening for the tourism industry, worth £11 billion to the Scottish economy. The plan, led by the multi-agency group includes marketing activity, events recovery, responsible and community tourism and guidance on how to reassure visitors by running businesses safely.

The STERG, chaired by VisitScotland, consists of COSLA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise and the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

Its immediate priorities are to support businesses by providing information and reassurance; safeguarding employment; and helping them access financial assistance to maintain cashflow and secure a viable future. With this plan, the group has created a single, joined-up, phased approach to not just combat the current issues but also look at how the industry could effectively recover once the lockdown is eased.

The first two phases of the plan were launched at the end of April, with phase two (reset) all about engaging with the industry, supporting them and coordinating next moves to encourage workplace planning for a safe restart.  This final part focuses on the restart and recover strategy for the sector which has been on hold since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Scotland, shortly before many businesses were due to open for the Easter season.

Riddell Graham, Director of Industry and Destination Development at VisitScotland and Chair of STERG said:

“This has been a real team effort, giving all the agencies within STERG an opportunity to refocus plans and redirect budget, as well as working alongside the tourism industry to work through daily issues.

“The plan is not set in stone but a moving feast with four key areas of focus: respond, reset, restart and recovery. It will continue to evolve in line with the scientific evidence and government advice on the reopening of the tourism industry.

“One particular issue within the sector is how to restart as a business with the new rules in place for social distancing and hygiene. This is an area the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) is looking at, working with key sector groups. We hope to get something out to the industry in the near future.” 

The final part of the plan is now available here. Stages three and four – Restart and Recover – focus on:

  • post lockdown with support and guidance for safe industry re-opening, including COVID training requirements
  • an outline of marketing activity and insight and events recovery
  • a look at what further financial support will be required
  • how we respond to the responsible and community tourism agenda
  • how to continue supporting the ambitions of Scotland Outlook 2030 and our vision to be the world leader in 21st century tourism

Scotland Outlook 2030, the new national tourism strategy, is being reviewed and further developed in the light of the pandemic to ensure the assumptions and commitments in the initial document are still valid. Steps will be taken to ensure the appropriate alignment and integration of the two strategic documents in the future.


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