Scope of funding widened to help additional businesses hit by pandemic
COACH operators are being encouraged to apply for a share of a £1.6 million fund to help support their businesses through the COVID-19 crisis, as part of the £104.3 million Scottish Government package announced at the end of last year.
The Scotland Coach Operators – COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund – Strand Two has been created with changes to the percentage of total turnover derived from coach tourism / private hire, to benefit more businesses across the coach operator sector.
This new fund has been with developed with input from the Confederation of Passenger Transport, as per the previous fund launched back in February, one of 14 delivered by VisitScotland on behalf of Scottish Government.
The first strand supported coach operators in Scotland with a business turnover which is more than 55% of their total turnover, which has now closed.
Applications for this second strand of funding open from 12pm on 23 June until 5pm on 30 June and is open to coach operators with a business turnover which is more than 40% of their total turnover.
The fund provides support to Scottish-based businesses in the coach tourism and coach private hire sector, who are operating the newest and most environmentally friendly vehicle fleet, a Euro 5 or 6 grade and M2 or M3 category, with 8 or more seats.
The loss of international visitors over the past year and continuing uncertainty over when they can return, is impacting on many businesses and sectors of the tourism and hospitality. The second strand of funding is to support more coach tour operators while restrictions on travel and capacity are in place.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “We won’t just push a button and tourism will recover – we’ve had a year of very little investment, job losses and business closures – it will take time and significant investment to get us back to a thriving industry. With the right support tourism and events can lead the economic recovery and boost inward investment where it’s needed most.
Over the past year the funding VisitScotland has administered on behalf of The Scottish Government equates to just over £80 million, with 200 of our staff having been redeployed to deal with the 5,000 applications we have received.
A thriving tourism industry is essential to lead Scotland’s pandemic recovery. It is a force for good by not only providing jobs and economic benefits to every corner of the country, but also bringing benefits to our wellbeing and society.”
Paul White, Confederation of Passenger Transport Scotland Director, said: “CPT welcomes this second strand of the COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund for Scotland’s Coach Operators.
“The increased eligibility threshold of strand two will serve as a much-needed lifeline for those coach operators who narrowly missed out on the previous round of funding, many of whom have been unable to trade to any great degree since winter 2019. This fund will help meet some of the substantial costs incurred over these past 15 months of inactivity.
“We look forward to continuing to work with both the Scottish Government and VisitScotland as we navigate the road to recovery for Scotland’s coach industry.”