ASVA CEO and Chair meet with Tourism Minister

On Tuesday (8 February) ASVA CEO Gordon Morrison and Chair Susan Morrison were pleased to host Tourism Minister Ivan McKee MSP for a virtual meeting and wide-ranging discussion about the current challenges being faced by businesses in, and connected, to the attractions sector. During the open and honest discussion, a variety of key issues facing the sector were covered, including:

  • The impact of Omicron and related measures over the winter period
  • The lack of a recovery experienced by the vast majority of the sector in 2021
  • The rising cost of doing business within the sector
  • Staff absence and recruitment issues currently being faced
  • How two years without viable trading is impacting investment within the sector

Gordon and Susan also discussed recovery actions and how the Scottish Government can best support our sector in 2022. Discussion topics included:

  • How important it is for industry and consumer confidence that the Scottish Government gets the message across to domestic and international visitors that Scotland is open, safe and is again warmly welcoming visitors.
  • If the sector is to be encouraged to invest, we need reassurances that we will not be facing the same stop-start nature of trading that we have experienced over the last two years.
  • As there has been no recovery for the majority of the sector, further financial support measures must remain a priority. An extension of the current VisitScotland Days Out Incentivisation Scheme, coupled with a second round of funding for this programme – this time taking place when we don’t have capacity limits or government messaging saying ‘don’t go out’ – would help stimulate recovery.
  • Further financial support to help the sector continue to develop our product would also be warmly welcomed, be that support to train our wonderful people, help us explore new revenue streams in the digital arena or develop our green credentials.
  • The further extension of business rates relief and the extension of VAT at 12.5% would go a long way to helping safeguard the sector and boosting recovery.

Mr McKee acknowledged the points made and recognised that our sector is clearly one that did not see the green shoots of recovery in 2021. Whilst emphasising that there is not a limitless pot of money, the Minister provided assurances that the Scottish Government is keen to further support the recovery of our crucial sector and will look to work directly with ASVA on some of the key recovery proposals covered during the discussion.

ASVA will be continuing dialogue with the Scottish Government in the weeks ahead, looking at recovery actions to support the sector. If any members would like to raise any specific points with regard to this, please contact Gordon on