News

Survey reveals ‘survival not recovery’ is the priority for the majority of the sector.

Staffing crisis caused by Brexit compounds challenges caused by the lack of international visitors – and there’s been no ‘staycation boom’. 

The latest survey of Scotland’s visitor attractions has revealed that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to devastate the sector – and it has seen no evidence of a ‘staycation boom’.

Conducted on behalf of ASVA by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Development, the survey on business performance and prospects highlights that survival rather than recovery is the current priority for operators.

Less than half of the sector (48.1%) is currently fully open and more than one in ten attractions remain closed. A further 40.9% are operating with reduced hours or limited facilities because of the impacts of both the pandemic and Brexit.

ASVA CEO Gordon Morrison said:“The pandemic has had a truly devastating impact on Scotland’s visitor attractions and these latest results provide further evidence that this impact is still very much being felt. I cannot emphasise strongly enough that, despite a number of media reports to the contrary, there’s been no ‘staycation boom’ or widespread economic recovery for our sector this year, and we face a very challenging winter period ahead. With very few international visitors and restrictive regulations that severely limited viable trading throughout the spring and summer, the window of opportunity to trade successfully has been extremely limited and, as a result we’re still concerned about the survival, not the recovery, of much of our sector as we move into the off-season.”

Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre at GCU, said: Tourism like many other industries in Scotland has been hugely impacted by the loss of EU workers as a direct consequence of Brexit. The ability to adequately and safely staff operations has become the next insurmountable challenge.”

Just over 180 organisations representing 353 individual attractions took part in what was the first survey of attractions since the majority of restrictions were lifted across the country and Scotland moved to ‘beyond Level 0’. Key data provided by survey respondents on performance indicated:

  • More than a third of attractions (34.3%) are not currently operating at an economically sustainable level.
  • Turnover is down by over 50% at over a third of attractions (35.8%) this year when compared to the same period in 2019, with only one in twenty (5.5%) operating with a turnover at or above 2019 levels.
  • More than one in five attractions has less than 3 months financial reserves as they head into the off-season.
  • Almost half (47.5%) of the sector has seen a decrease in visitor numbers of greater than 50% this year, compared to the same period in 2019.
  • With fewer than 8% of attractions reporting visitor numbers at or above pre-pandemic levels, it’s clear that, despite media reports suggesting tourism has benefited from a ‘staycation boom’, there has been no widespread economic recovery for Scotland’s attractions this year.

In terms of attractions’ prospects and for future recovery, the survey revealed that:

  • The impact of the pandemic will be felt beyond the short-term. Just under 45% of attractions are reporting less or no investment in new facilities and infrastructure in the 2021/22 year. 42% have also seen less or no investment in staff development, with 45% reporting a significant reduction in investment in leadership development. This could have profound, long-term consequences for the sector, as well as our country’s ambition to be a world leader in 21st century tourism, as set out in Scotland’s National Tourism Strategy ‘Outlook 2030’.
  • Recruitment is one of a number of significant challenges holding back the sector’s recovery. Just under half of attractions (48.6%) are facing difficulties in recruiting staff. Almost one in three attractions are currently operating with reduced hours due to staffing issues. Respondents stated that recruitment and retention of staff is currently the 4th most significant barrier to the sector’s short-term recovery.
  • The top three challenges impeding recovery however were the lack of international visitors, ongoing restrictions and regulations, and the lack of domestic visitors.
  • There remains too continued consumer nervousness as the virus continues to spread, raising serious questions about when a full recovery will be possible. As it has throughout the pandemic, however, the attractions sector continues to lead industry efforts to suppress the virus. More than 90% of Scottish attractions currently operate with COVID-mitigating measures in place, despite the majority of these not being required by law.

Gordon Morrison added:“Despite the economic challenges they face, the number one priority for attractions continues to be keeping staff and visitors safe. They have maintained the very highest standards of safety throughout the pandemic; this hasn’t changed even as restrictions have been eased. The fact that over 90% of the sector continues to operate with measures above and beyond those required by law demonstrates its ongoing commitment to ‘stopping the spread’ in Scotland – even when that can be, and often is, to the detriment of business performance. 

“Now more than ever, our sector – which is so important to our country’s £11bn tourism industry – desperately needs continued support from both the government and the public to survive and make it through what will be a very challenging winter period. We know that many attractions will be extending their season into the winter this year in an effort to recoup lost income, and I’d urge the people of Scotland and rest of the UK to get out and explore the wonderful and varied experiences they offer.

“Visitors can expect to enjoy unique, memorable experiences and the warmest of welcomes, along with the highest standard of safety measures. Moreover, with significantly fewer overseas visitors, there are currently more opportunities to explore and experience our world-class attractions with far less of the hustle and bustle often associated with visiting popular sites.”

ASVA’s summary report on the findings of the Moffat Centre survey can be found at this link.

The full survey report can be accessed here.

As we’ve previously highlighted to our attraction members, as part of the Scottish Government’s £25 million tourism recovery programme, VisitScotland has been working closely with ASVA on the development of a Scotland-wide Days Out Incentive Scheme. This is designed specifically to support our sector by encouraging visitation in the off-season.

We’re pleased to confirm that this £4 million initiative – which will enable visitor attractions, as well as outdoor, adventure and wildlife activities operators to apply for funding so they can offer reduced cost ticket promotions – will shortly go live.

Applications for the VisitScotland Days Out Incentive Fund will open at noon on 5 October and close at 5pm on 12 October.

Successful applicants to the Days Out Incentive Fund will be awarded financial support to subsidise the cost of tickets to their visitor attraction or activity. They must apply a promotions mechanic of up to 50% off the cost of a ticket, up to the maximum discount value of £20 per ticket booked.  Discounts can only be applied to bookings where the relevant visit or experience takes place within the promotional period of 4 November to 18 February.

Attractions and activities that are open for business between November and February must have a listing on VisitScotland.com and be signed up to the ‘We’re Good to Go’ COVID-19 industry standard to be eligible to apply to the Days Out Incentive Fund.  

VisitScotland will be launching a marketing campaign to promote the Days Out Scheme and inspire people to make the most of its ticket promotions to experience attractions around the country during the quieter winter months. We would strongly encourage all eligible ASVA attraction members to apply to the Incentive Fund so they can take advantage of the business-boosting potential that the Days Out Scheme offers.

Further information on the Days Out Incentive Fund can be found at this link and details on eligibility criteria and further guidance can be accessed here.

Gordon Morrison, ASVA CEO, said: “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on Scotland’s visitor attractions and the window of opportunity for their recovery has been extremely limited this year; the vast majority are still very much in survival mode. Our attractions are at the core of our country’s identity, culture and communities, and will play a pivotal role in the economic recovery of the £11bn tourism industry – so they desperately need additional, short-term support for what will be a very challenging winter period ahead. The launch of this tailored initiative for our sector is therefore very important and timely.

“With international tourists unlikely to return in significant numbers for some time yet, the patronage of people in Scotland is more important now than ever before. The VisitScotland Days Out Scheme will stimulate increased visitation and enable more attractions to extend their season, which in turn will boost footfall and spend in the wider economy.

“Visitors can expect to enjoy unique, memorable experiences and the warmest of welcomes, along with the highest standard of safety measures – which have been praised as exemplary by the Scottish Government. Moreover, with significantly fewer overseas visitors, those taking advantage of the Days Out scheme will have more opportunities to explore and experience our world-class attractions with far less of the hustle and bustle often associated with visiting popular sites.”

VisitScotland Director of Marketing Vicki Miller said: “The loss of international visitors over the past year has had a major impact on visitor attractions, tours and activity providers. The VisitScotland Days Out Voucher Fund will help generate income for this sector during the quieter winter months, as well as help rebuild consumer confidence in the face of COVID-19. “Tourism is a force for good – creating economic and social value in every corner of Scotland and enhancing the wellbeing 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: “With the loss of many international tourists this year due to the pandemic, this £4 million fund will boost local visitor numbers and support the recovery of Scotland’s world-class tourism attractions. 

“Scotland’s tourism industry is a central plank of our economy and as we begin to carefully emerge and recover from the pandemic, we must work with the tourism industry to seize Scotland’s potential and build an economy for everyone by delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.”

ASVA is inviting nominations from its Attraction Members to join its Board of Directors.

The Board meets four times a year and Directors help develop ASVA’s policies and strategies, as well as ensuring the Association stays close to its members. Board membership can also offer opportunities for representation on other decision-making bodies within Scottish tourism, providing further scope to influence policy and strategy outwith the organisation.

There has never been a more crucial time for the industry, as attractions across the country look to recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19. As the voice of the attractions sector in Scotland, ASVA continues to work tirelessly to support it and to lobby on behalf of its members. ASVA Board Directors have played, and will continue to play, a significant role in supporting this work.

ASVA is also changing and developing as an organisation, with a new five-year strategy set to be introduced at the end of 2021. This is therefore an exciting time to be joining the Board.

Applications are welcomed from high-calibre individuals with a real passion for the industry. In addition to undertaking duties required to ensure good governance of the Association, Directors will be expected:

  • To play an active part in supporting and driving forward the organisation
  • To have a sound knowledge of Scotland’s attractions sector and wider tourism industry.

To ensure the Board represents the breadth of ASVA’s membership, the Association is particularly keen to recruit Attraction Members:

  • From the North, South or West of the country
  • From smaller attractions
  • With experience in financial decision-making at a senior level.

Individuals interested in applying should complete this nomination form, including a brief supporting statement (200-300 words), and return it by the deadline of Friday, 3 October 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a brief, informal interview with ASVA’s Chair Susan Morrison and CEO Gordon Morrison.

Any questions regarding Board membership and responsibilities should be directed in the first instance to Susan Morrison at susan@scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk. Other queries can be directed to Gordon Morrison at gordon@asva.co.uk.

The final decision on the Board appointments will be made according to the voting procedure laid out in the Articles of Association.

Information on ASVA’s current Board can be found at this link

We are once again asking all visitor attraction operators across Scotland to take part in our latest survey. This is vital to enable us to determine the current status of our sector, with a particular focus on the ongoing impact of the pandemic on businesses and their recovery prospects.

As with our previous surveys, the Moffat Centre for Travel & Tourism Development at Glasgow Caledonian University is conducting this important study. The results will be shared with you, our members, so you are kept updated on how the sector is faring, and we will also inform our key stakeholders of the findings. Importantly, they will also be used to shape our ongoing lobbying activities with the Scottish and UK Governments.

ASVA CEO Gordon Morrison said: “I’m asking all our attraction operators to take part in the survey, which is very straightforward and will only take 10 minutes at most to complete. That single simple and quick action can really make a huge difference. It’s essential that we receive the most up-to-date information on business performance, recovery prospects and confidence levels within the sector so we have a definitive status update on how attractions are coping and what their biggest challenges and concerns are.

“The more responses we get, the stronger our voice will be, and the better our chances will be of being listened to. That’s crucial to our efforts to get financial support for Scottish attractions. So please do help us to help you by having your say in this latest survey. We know there are misconceptions that tourism is ‘back on track’ now that restrictions have been lifted and it’s absolutely essential that we have as much data as possible to show the real picture and demonstrate what further action will be required to ensure a full recovery for the sector in the months ahead.”

Members can be assured that no sensitive material for individual attractions will be published as part of the survey results. In addition, if any attraction would prefer to remain anonymous in the results, that option can be chosen and indicated at the end of the survey. (Please note, you do not have to have a Moffat Centre i.d. number to complete the survey, the only essential information that is required is your attraction name.)

Please complete the survey here. It will close on Wednesday, 15 September at 5pm. Thank you for your co-operation.

We’re delighted to announce that ASVA – in partnership with the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), HIT Scotland (Hospitality Industry Trust), and Scotland Food & Drink – will host Scotland’s National Tourism Industry Conference on 24 and 25 November. The event will take place at the EICC in Edinburgh, but ‘virtual’ attendance will also be possible as online tickets will be available. 

This will be the first opportunity in over 18 months for Scotland’s tourism community to come together to reconnect, learn, share knowledge, inspire one another, and celebrate the achievements of our industry in navigating our way through what has been the toughest period imaginable. The two-day event has been shaped around the pillars and priority areas of Scotland’s Future Tourism Strategy ‘Outlook 2030’ – focusing on our passionate people, thriving places, diverse businesses and memorable experiences.

The Conference will bring together an exciting range of industry speakers to deliver the most important insights, advice and inspiration our industry needs as we move through the pandemic towards recovery into what will inevitably be a very different landscape. The event will be an unmissable opportunity for everyone working in all sectors of tourism to get together and hear from those who can guide us along the best possible path – propelled by a renewed energy and the ambition we all hold for the future of Scotland’s tourism industry. 

We will provide updates on the Conference programme as soon as more details are finalised, but in the meantime, please save the dates in your diaries. And to ensure you don’t miss out on the chance to register for this unmissable event, you can book now via the Eventbrite link here.

Organisations with ten or more employees are being urged by the Scottish Government to sign up for asymptomatic workplace testing as part of an enhanced drive to identify emerging cases of coronavirus and break transmission chains. Free lateral flow device (LFD) tests have been made more widely available now that Scotland has moved beyond Level 0 and more employees are returning to their workplaces.

Asymptomatic testing had previously been targeted at prioritised areas of the public sector, national infrastructure and private businesses with higher transmission rates. The expansion of the workplace testing programme – which will initially be offered until the end of September – has been introduced in response to requests from representative bodies from a range of sectors. The testing regime is voluntary, and organisations can either adopt an LFD Collect model to distribute among staff, or implement their own asymptomatic test site (ATS) model in workplaces.

Public Health Minister Maree Todd said: “Testing has a vital role to play as we move safely out of lockdown and this rollout of workplace testing to cover all companies with 10 staff or more builds on our strategy to tackle COVID-19. The vaccination programme has been a major success, however even though you are fully vaccinated it does not guarantee that you cannot catch the virus and pass it on without knowing you have it. Asymptomatic testing will remain an important tool in breaking future chains of transmission.

“As more staff continue to return to the workplace in the months ahead, we must do all we can to ensure this is done as safely as possible. Workplace asymptomatic testing can play an important part in the recovery and organisations across our business, third and public sectors can contribute to this. It’s vital that all results are reported to ensure we understand the prevalence of the virus and halt further transmission.

“I would encourage all organisations that are eligible to sign up for workplace testing and play their part in our recovery from the pandemic.”

You can find out how to apply for workplace testing here.

Businesses and organisations with fewer than 10 employees can direct their team members to collect LFD test kits from a local pharmacy or COVID test site, or order them online for home delivery. More details on this can be found here.

VisitScotland is encouraging tourism businesses including visitor attractions to sign up to a new voucher scheme to help low-income families, unpaid carers and disadvantaged young people affected adversely by the pandemic to enjoy a subsidised two-night break in Scotland.

The national tourism organisation’s ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher Scheme, administered on behalf of The Scottish Government, will support tourism businesses to recover from the impact of the pandemic by stimulating demand for off-peak domestic breaks and day visits.

The initiative is part of the £25 million tourism recovery programme announced by the First Minister in March 2021. Developed by VisitScotland, the programme proposals were approved by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in collaboration with Tourism Task Force members – including ASVA CEO Gordon Morrison.

The ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher 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. Visitor attractions across Scotland, plus hotels, guest houses, B & Bs, hostels and camping parks can be part of the scheme.

ASVA members interested in participating in the ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher Scheme should visit: www.visitscotland.org/about-us/what-we-do/working-in-partnership/scotspirit-voucher-scheme

Working in partnership with several leading charities, the Family Holiday Association and Shared Care Scotland will ensure the vouchers are distributed to people in greatest need of benefit for their mental health and well-being. Vouchers will be allocated following an application process which will start once a sufficient number of businesses have signed up to participate. (Details of the application process will be announced at a later date.)

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead 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 MSP 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 £1.4 million ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher Scheme will support many families and unpaid carers who might not have been able to take a break, to take some time out and explore Scotland. I would encourage all tourism businesses to get involved with the scheme – not only will you be providing a welcome break for those who need it, but you’ll also generate income for your business and stimulate demand during the quieter winter months.”

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, 3 August, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland will move beyond Level 0 on Monday, 9 August – whereby the majority of the remaining Covid restrictions will be removed throughout the country.

The key points for visitor attractions to note on what the move to beyond Level 0 means for our sector are:

  • Physical distancing restrictions and limits on social gathering numbers are being removed, but the Scottish Government is still advising the public to maintain distancing and avoid crowded spaces. Attractions should be cognisant of this guidance, and where possible, should be reassuring visitors that measures are still in place to ensure that visitors will enjoy a safe, highly enjoyable experience (e.g. continued monitoring and control of visitor flow through pre-booking, continued use of hand sanitation stations, continued enhanced cleaning protocols etc).
  • Adults identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 will no longer be automatically required to self-isolate for 10 days. Anyone who is double-vaccinated (with at least two weeks passed since their second dose) and who has no symptoms, will be able to end self-isolation provided they return a negative PCR test.
  • It will continue to be the law that face coverings must be worn in indoor public places, including in indoor visitor attractions.
  • There will be a continued requirement for indoor hospitality venues to collect the contact details of customers. This will include cafes, restaurants and bars in visitor attractions. There is no requirement to collect contact details from all visitors to your attraction/s, just those using your hospitality facilities.
  • Table service will no longer be required in hospitality settings beyond level 0, so it will be acceptable to ask visitors to order at a counter/bar.
  • The Scottish Government will, for a limited period, keep in place a gateway process through which organisers of outdoors events of more than 5,000 and indoor events of more than 2000 will have to apply for permission.

 ASVA CEO Gordon Morrison said: “It is, of course, very heartening to hear that Scotland will move beyond Level 0 on 9 August. The news that restrictions on physical distancing are being lifted is particularly welcome for our members, as this restriction – above all others – has had the biggest impact on our sector’s ability to trade at an economically viable level.

“Of course, the lifting of restrictions will not instantly mean a return to pre-Covid trading for the sector, and we are still a long way off from seeing a full recovery. It will take a considerable period of time for our sector to fully recover, and there can be no doubt that many businesses will still require additional financial support as we move into the difficult winter ahead. However, the continued lifting of restrictions is a very positive step in the right direction and will allow many in our sector to at least begin to get back on their feet.

“It is also important to note that the lifting of restrictions does not mean there will be no more Covid measures in place at visitor attractions. We know that, despite the lifting of most restrictions, our members will continue to maintain a number of measures, such as the continuation of enhanced cleaning protocols, hand sanitisation stations, and controls on visitor flow. Visitor and staff safety has always been the highest priority and there is no doubt that our sector will continue to lead the way when it comes to delivering safe, high-quality experiences for all.”

In recognition of the fact that our members may be looking for advice on what to say to visitors to reassure them that their safety remains a priority for attractions and on-site precautions are being maintained to ensure this, we have amended a specimen statement which is included in the re-opening guidance published by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA). (As we have highlighted in previous E-Updates, this guidance is available in the COVID-19 Info page of our ASVA website, and you can also access it via this link: ALVA reopening guidance.)

To make ALVA’s specimen statement more applicable for Scotland and attractions in our country, we would suggest that our members use the following version (which can, of course, be amended to suit your needs):
‘’This visitor attraction has decided to maintain mitigation measures, including managing capacities and visitor flow, use of hand sanitation stations and enhanced cleaning protocols, until otherwise announced, in accordance with industry best practice and guidance endorsed by the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions.’’

You can read the First Minister’s full statement at this link.

In a move which represents a much-needed boost for Scottish tourism, a significant relaxation of international travel measures was introduced today – Monday 2 August – when quarantine free travel to Scotland began for double vaccinated arrivals from the EU and the US.

The Scottish Government took the decision last week to change the rules on international travel following the announcement by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP that measures for England were to be relaxed.

Subject to countries remaining on the amber travel list, travellers no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in Scotland. The change, however, does not apply to people who have been in France in the 10 days prior to their arrival, due to concerns about the prevalence of the COVID-19 Beta variant.

Travellers need to show a negative test before departure and produce a negative PCR test result on day two after arrival. The requirement to take a further PCR test on day eight has been dropped. Those arriving are now required to show either the EU Digital COVID Certificate or the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s white card (known as a CDC card) to prove they are fully vaccinated.

Announcing the changes, Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson MSP advised they have been made possible due to the success of the vaccination scheme in Scotland as well as the successful rollouts of vaccine programmes in the EU and US. He also urged people to continue to think carefully about travelling, given the prevalence and unpredictable nature of variants of concern.

Responding to the news of international travel measures being relaxed, ASVA CEO Gordon Morrison said:“The fact that fully vaccinated people from the EU and US can now travel to Scotland without quarantining is a significant development for Scottish tourism and visitor attractions. So many businesses depend heavily on the international market so hearing that overseas visitors can now start returning was welcome news. Recovery is, of course, still a very long way off for our sector but this is at least an important step in the right direction; it’s a positive move that will help businesses begin to rebuild from the disastrous economic impact of the pandemic.”

Further details on the new ruling for travellers can be found here.

A leading UK recruitment firm has stepped in to help Scotland’s visitor attractions sector – a major contributor to the country’s £11 billion tourism industry – to tackle current staff shortages which have resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

Thanks to a partnership between ASVA, the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions, and Xpress Recruitment, ASVA members’ vacancies are now being promoted via tourism and hospitality staffing site Xpressjobs.co.uk.

ASVA has almost 500 individual visitor attractions in its membership, which includes a diverse wealth of sites all over Scotland – from historic castles to museums, national parks, science centres, distilleries and zoos. Its members have the opportunity to post their job opportunities on ASVA’s website free of charge and these vacancies are currently being ‘pulled through’ to the Xpressjobs.co.uk recruitment platform to be advertised there. This opens up their exposure to a much wider marketplace, maximising opportunities for them to be filled by suitable candidates as quickly as possible.

ASVA CEO Gordon Morrison said: “Scotland’s visitor attractions sector has been hit extremely hard by the COVID crisis, and although most of our members’ businesses are trading again, they face huge challenges in recovering from the impact of the pandemic. The staffing shortages the entire tourism industry is currently experiencing are of huge concern for many attractions. It’s incredibly difficult for them to build back their businesses and provide world-class visitor experiences if they don’t have a full complement of committed, talented and enthusiastic staff.

“We encourage our members to post their vacancies on ASVA’s website – and we share these details to everyone subscribed to receive our weekly jobs mailshot – so we know that all categories of attractions across Scotland have a range of posts that need to be filled urgently. Xpress Recruitment – itself an ASVA trade member – approached us with the fantastic offer of ‘pulling through’ these vacancies to its Xpressjobs staffing site to promote them there at no cost.

“The increased visibility this high-profile recruitment platform provides will vastly improve the chances of the vacancies being filled quickly, which will be incredibly helpful to attractions. The fact too that – thanks to the generosity of Xpress Recruitment – ASVA members are not having to pay to have their job opportunities featured on the Xpressjobs website is a huge benefit for them. That’s particularly appreciated at a time when so many businesses in our sector are really struggling, so we are extremely grateful to Xpress Recruitment for its very kind and extremely timely offer.”

Posting a job on Xpressjob.co.uk normally costs an employer around £20 per vacancy and the recruitment firm, which is based in Edinburgh, will post 250 job opportunities for ASVA attraction members at no charge.

Xpressjobs.co.uk – which is integrated with one of the UK’s leading in-house recruitment management platforms, Recruit Genie, and a network of other leading recruitment sites – features vacancies from most of the UK’s tourism employers to enable job-seekers to search and apply easily for an extensive range of permanent and temporary vacancies, at all levels, as soon as they are posted. Advertising a job on Xpressjobs.co.uk provides the post with a potential reach and audience of hundreds of thousands of relevant candidates, as the recruitment firm distributes it to other similar job boards within its network to ensure the employer gets the very best quality applicants for the vacancy.

Xpress Recruitment Director Paul J. Wilson said: As a recruitment firm specialising in the tourism, hospitality, leisure and retail markets, we’re very conscious of the significant staffing challenges that exist within the whole spectrum of the tourism industry just now – particularly with regard to customer-facing roles.

“We’ve invested heavily in ensuring our Xpress Recruitment Search and Selection, Xpressjobs and Recruit Genie products provide the very best results in attracting talent in what is a very challenging market place.

“Brexit has resulted in so many posts, that had previously been filled by a cohort of talented EU nationals, becoming vacant. In addition, following furloughs caused by the pandemic, considerable numbers of people who had been employed in tourism and hospitality have now moved on from those industries, so we’ve seen a huge rise in the numbers of vacancies in both permanent and temporary roles across all the sectors we service.

“As a trade member of ASVA, we’ve been particularly aware of the very considerable challenges that attraction members are experiencing as a result of the pandemic and the added pressures they’re having to cope with because of the current staff shortages crisis in tourism and hospitality. We knew that boosting the exposure of ASVA members’ vacancies via our high-profile recruitment platform would benefit attractions and help them get their posts filled by appropriate candidates as fast as possible.

We were really pleased to be in a position to offer this help to our fellow ASVA members and support an industry which is so vital to Scotland’s economy.”

ASVA is encouraging its members to take advantage of the opportunity to contribute to the development of an ambitious 10-year National Strategy which will drive Scotland’s economic transformation as the country recovers from COVID-19 and transitions to a net zero economy.

An Advisory Council comprising business leaders, academics and economists has been appointed to shape the new National Strategy For Economic Transformation, which is expected to be published in late autumn. Drawing on their extensive expertise, experience and insight, the Advisory Council (whose members are listed here) will formulate bold ideas to transform our economy.

In addition, the Scottish Government is calling on businesses, employees and stakeholders right across Scotland to get involved in the strategy’s creation. People throughout the country are invited to submit their views and ideas on how the country can work together to deliver ‘greater, greener and fairer prosperity’.

This is your chance to have your say in how Scotland’s economy should be driven forward, and ensure your opinions and suggestions are not only taken into account but also potentially included in Scotland’s new National Strategy For Economic Transformation. You should submit your contribution by email before the deadline of 27 August to: EconomyCovid-19StakeholderUpdatesMailbox@gov.scot.

Commenting on the aims behind the National Strategy For Economic Transformation, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy Kate Forbes MSP, said:

As we recover from the pandemic our focus rightly turns to what kind of society and economy we want to rebuild. A fair economy that delivers for everyone is our guiding principle. As well as continuing to support businesses to open, trade and rebuild across Scotland, we are firmly focused on delivering an economy that is fit for the future.

“The pandemic has led to fundamental shifts in sectors such as retail, and changed the way many businesses operate with more online trading and remote working. As well as continuing to support businesses to open, trade and rebuild, we need to build on these innovations and guide our economy to the industries and opportunities of the future. To achieve this, the Scottish Government has committed to delivering a new 10 year National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

“Bold and ambitious, this strategy will drive transformational change by focusing on setting the conditions that will unleash Scotland’s entrepreneurial potential and create the industries of the future. As well as growing our competitive business base, this strategy will support businesses in the transition to net zero and deliver new, good and green jobs across Scotland.”

The full statement by Ms Forbes on the National Strategy For Economic Transformation is available to read here.

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The Scottish Government was recalled for a virtual session yesterday, Tuesday 13 July, for the latest COVID-19 update by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who confirmed that – as planned – restrictions across mainland Scotland will drop to Level 0 from Monday 19 July.

Urging the need for a cautious and responsible approach to the lifting of restrictions, Ms Sturgeon stressed the importance of the continued use of face coverings, which will remain mandatory where they are currently required – including within indoor settings at visitor attractions. She announced that the move to Level 0 includes some modifications to the Scottish Government’s initial plans – reflecting high levels of Delta variant infection rates. The modifications include a delay in the return to office work, which had been planned as part of Level 0, and the imposition of a midnight curfew on indoor hospitality.

From Monday, one change impacting travel to the benefit of tourism is that fully-vaccinated people coming into the country from amber list countries will no longer need to quarantine, as long as they take a test on arrival.  

The key points for attractions operators to note with regard to the move to Level 0 on 19 July are:

  • Indoor restrictions on social gatherings in a public place will move from 8 people from 3 households to 10 people from 4 households.
  • Outdoor restrictions will also move to 15 people from 15 households.
  • Children under 12 will not count towards either the number of people or the number of households. 
  • Indoor physical distancing requirements will be reduced from two metres to one metre.
  • Outdoor physical distancing requirements of one metre will also apply between different groups, but a group of up to 15 people from 15 households can meet outdoors without distancing.
  • Face coverings will still be mandatory in indoor settings, including in indoor attractions.
  • Test & Protect contact details will still need to be collected in hospitality settings, including attraction cafes & restaurants.
  • Up to 200 people can attend weddings.
  • Large events can take place, with a maximum attendance of 400 people indoors and 2000 people standing or 1000 seated outdoors.

In addition, from 19 July, self-isolation will no longer be required for people arriving from countries on the amber list, provided they are fully vaccinated through a UK vaccination programme and take a PCR test on the second day after arrival.

Ms Sturgeon advised that it is still hoped that Scotland can move ‘beyond Level 0’ on 9 August when most legal restrictions will be dropped, however she warned that some precautions, such as the mandatory wearing of face coverings, and guidance on hand hygiene and ventilation, are likely to remain in place ‘for some time’. She said: “We must stick to a cautious approach. We are easing restrictions next week, but we are not abandoning them. And even when we move beyond Level 0, we will continue to require some baseline measures such as face coverings.”

In terms of the move to ‘ beyond Level 0’, there was a further significant statement made by the First Minister, when she stated that it is likely that from 9 August the requirement will be removed for close contacts of those who test positive to self-isolate – as long as they have been double-vaccinated and have taken a negative PCR test.

Responding to the First Minister’s announcement, ASVA CEO Gordon Morrison said: “It is, of course, very pleasing to receive confirmation that all of Scotland will move to Level 0 on 19 July. For Scotland’s attractions sector however, the ongoing restrictions on physical distancing are going to continue to have a significant impact on economic viability for many during this crucial summer season. It is certainly more bearable that distancing restrictions are moving to 1 metre, but I know that many attraction operators are looking further ahead to 9  August and ‘beyond Level 0’, as the more significant date, as this is when we will hopefully see the end of physical distancing restrictions completely in both indoor and outdoor settings.
 
“It was also significant to hear from the First Minister about the changes to self-isolation rules from 9 August. ASVA had just last week reported to the Scottish Government the concerns of many in the sector in relation to the current 10-day self-isolation policy, and the impact this is having on business operations at a number of attractions. It was therefore very pleasing to hear the First Minister report that the Scottish Government will remove the need for people to self-isolate if they have a close contact with a positive case, provided they are double vaccinated and have a negative PCR test.’’
 
The First Minister’s full statement can be accessed at this link.