To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on tourism to Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
The impact of covid-19 on the tourism industry in Scotland, like many other sectors has of course been difficult. Tourism is one of Scotland’s most important industries, building upon the UK’s strong international reputation.
I am keen to support the tourism industry as the sector starts to get back to business. I have spoken regularly with Scottish tourism businesses and organisations over the past few months who have outlined their concerns and also their desire to reopen as this is the best way to stimulate economic recovery.
Tourism policy is devolved to the Scottish Government. However my office is in regular discussions with HMT and DCMS Ministers and officials to identify sectoral views in Scotland and areas of UK-wide support, and with Scottish Government colleagues to coordinate support to the sector.
The UK Government has provided a host of measures to support businesses and individuals through the crisis, including those in the tourism sector. This includes the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme. UK Government support to business has also included making an additional £2.3 billion available for the Scottish Government which it has used for parallel schemes, including grants.
Given the significant fall in the incidence of covid-19, and following the review from our scientific experts, the UK Government has taken cautious steps forward. I am encouraged that the Scottish Government are now moving to help businesses open our economy safely.