Hotel businesses in Scotland are to benefit from a £14m funding support package that has been announced for the Scottish tourism industry.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes announced yesterday a hotel recovery programme worth £14m to help support the sector get back on its feet following the coronavirus pandemic.
The scheme, which will be managed by the enterprise agencies and VisitScotland, aims to protect larger hotels which have been especially badly hit by the impact of the pandemic.
The fund is due to be open for expressions of interest by the end of August.
UKHospitality welcomed the announcement, but however, expressed concern that the programme is not sufficiently resourced to deliver the scale of support required by the hotel sector.
Commenting on the announcement, UKHospitality executive director for Scotland, Willie Macleod said: “The £14m programme is a positive sign of intent, but it is going to be a drop in the ocean for the sector.
“Support will need to be much more extensive to ensure it reaches all businesses who need it. UKH estimates that there are around 950 larger hotels in Scotland, with a rateable value over £51,000, which did not qualify for grants that were available to smaller businesses. Many were unable to access government-backed loans or the Hardship and Pivotal grants provided by Scottish Government. On average, hotels had to meet £60,000 each month during lockdown to cover fixed costs.
“As the Government has identified, these businesses employ lots of people and support a long supply chain. A budget of £14m may mean that only 50 businesses, 5% of larger hotels, will be supported if each qualifies for the maximum sum. This is not enough to avert the crisis facing the sector.”