VisitScotland is encouraging businesses to sign up to a new voucher scheme to help low income families, unpaid careers and disadvantaged young people who have been adversely affected by the pandemic enjoy a subsidised two-night break in Scotland.
Administered on behalf of The Scottish Government, The National Tourism Organisation’s ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher Scheme will deliver £1.4 million worth by December 2022, and support tourism businesses to recover from the pandemic by stimulating the demand for off-peak domestic breaks and day visits.
The project is part of the GBP 25 million tourism recovery programme announced by the First Minister in March 2021. The recovery proposals were developed by VisitScotland and approved by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in collaboration with members of the Tourism Task Force.
The scheme is fully funded by The Scottish Government, and participating businesses will be paid for any booking made directly through the scheme by a method of their choosing. The scheme is open to bed and breakfast, guest houses, hotels, hostels, camping parks and visitor attractions across Scotland. The project aims to stimulate off-season domestic breaks and day visits, to support the tourism and hospitality sector to recover, following the lifting of final restrictions across Scotland.
Working in partnership with several leading charities, Family Holiday Association and Shared Care Scotland, will ensure the vouchers are distributed to people in the greatest need of benefits to their mental health and well-being. The allocation of vouchers will be done through an application process which will start once there are a sufficient number of businesses signed-up to participate. Details of the application process will be announced at a later date.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “We’re encouraging as many tourism businesses as possible to be part of the ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher Scheme. Not only will you generate income for your business but you will also provide long lasting memories for people who don’t often get to experience a holiday. Tourism is a force for good – creating economic and social value in every corner of Scotland and enhancing the well-being of everyone who experiences it. Tourism makes Scotland richer, economically and socially, and without it Scotland would be a much poorer place.”
Tourism minister Ivan McKee said: “After more than a year of the pandemic, a holiday from the stresses of daily life is something we all look forward to. We pledged to deliver a holiday voucher scheme in the first 100 days of this government and we are delivering. The GBP1.4 million ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher Scheme will support many families and unpaid careers who might not have been able to take a break, to take some time out and explore Scotland.”