ASVA CEO and Chair meet with new Tourism Minister

Yesterday (7th July) ASVA’s CEO, Gordon Morrison, and Chair, Susan Morrison, met with the new Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee MSP, to discuss the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and restrictions on the Scottish attractions sector.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Gordon and Susan relayed to the Minister the importance of our sector to the Scottish economy, the seasonal nature of the industry and what this means for any possible recovery, the impact that restrictions continue to have on viable trading, and the importance of continued funding support for our beleaguered businesses if we are going to be in a position to lead the full recovery of Scottish tourism in 2022.

Current visitation and turnover levels were discussed, along with recovery prospects this year and the key asks of the industry of the Scottish Government in the immediate to short term, most specifically clear and timely communications on notifications of changes to restrictions, and additional funding support to help the sector make it through another very challenging winter ahead. Issues with recruitment in the post-Brexit and COVID landscape were also discussed, as well as the impact on business operations at attractions of the current Test & Protect policy of a 10-day isolation period for anyone who is informed they are a close contact of someone with coronavirus.

Mr McKee advised that he found the discussion highly useful and is fully aware of the vital importance of our sector within the wider tourism landscape. He also stated that, whilst further funding will most likely depend on consequentials coming from the UK Government, he is keen to follow up with ASVA on what shape any further funding support for our sector should take. As a result, we will look to liaise with ASVA members on this key issue soon.

Overall, our first meeting with the Minister was positive and ASVA very much looks forward to continuing dialogue with Mr McKee in the months ahead.