£2.5m restart fund launched to help Scottish marine and outdoor businesses

A £2.5m fund to help adventure and marine tourism businesses in Scotland prepare for the 2021 season was launched yesterday (27Jan21).

The new Marine and Outdoor Tourism Restart Fund will be administered by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government in partnership with sector groups Sail Scotland and Wild Scotland. The fund is part of an overall £104.3m package of support for tourism businesses who have been affected by Covid-19 and will be open for applications from midday on 2 February.

“Industry surveys indicated over 75% of operators in the charter and small cruise sector secured two months or less of trading in 2020,” says Alan Rankin, CEO, Sail Scotland. “Managers of local visitor moorings and pontoon services faced a vastly curtailed season, many of whom are not for profit community led groups operating on extremely thin margins.

“The fund aims to support operators meet the high re-commissioning and re-start costs associated with the sector and will provide much needed confidence to many operators. The importance of supporting the sector at this time of year is vital, not just for direct jobs but also the valuable economic benefits marine tourism brings to rural and remote coastal and island communities.”

The purpose of the funding is to support the essential re-commissioning and re-start costs for businesses, aimed at those who have been significantly affected by the pandemic due to their seasonality and high set up costs associated with the activities they deliver. It is aimed at responsible tourism operators who provide sustainable outdoor related activities to visitors on land and water, from wildlife watching to charter and sailing holidays, bushcraft and survival to canoeing and mountaineering.

Due to the complexity and variety of businesses within the sector, two strands have been put in place, with businesses able to apply to just one. These are for either marine and boating tourism operators or outdoor wildlife, adventure and activity sector tourism businesses. Definitions of eligible businesses and guidelines are online.

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