STERG Tourism Industry Survey Results

STERG Tourism Industry Survey Results

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Good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining  us with our webinar today. Hopefully you've all   managed to access okay and we're expecting a large  number of people to join with almost 400 people   signed up and already 200 on the call. If you're  having any problems with the audio or visual pop   a question in the box and my colleague Amy will  come back to you directly with some guidance to   try and help. Your microphones are already on  mute and webcams will be off throughout the   webinar. If you'd like to ask a question please  use the question box rather than the raised hand   function. All the questions are being monitored  and collated by my colleagues on the call.  

If we don't manage to ask or answer your  questions, we'll come back to you with written   response as soon as we can in the coming days,  and a copy of the webinar plus the Q&A will be   posted on and you'll receive  an email as a follow-up from my colleague Rachel. So why this webinar? It's on behalf of the  Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group   which I Chair. It's a group that's  made up of the main public agencies; COSLA (representing local authorities) Highlands  and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Skills Development   Scotland (SDS), The Scottish Government, Scottish  Enterprise (SE), South of Scotland Enterprise and   the Scottish Tourism Alliance. We've been working  since last March to try and make sure that we're   in gathering all the information in relation  to the virus and its impact on tourism and   also trying to develop appropriate plans to help  us get out of this dreadful situation we're in.  

One of the key aspects of the work of  STERG has been to ensure that we have   proper and adequate research and data. This  is in fact the third survey we've carried out   since March last year, and this is one  of the biggest responses we've ever had   to monitor the impact of the virus on Scottish  tourism so we commissioned this survey through   Progressive Partnership to determine and  track the ongoing impact of the pandemic   and provide useful insight about our current  and future support needs. The survey was carried   out anonymously during November and December  (2020) and this webinar now invites you to hear   the results of the research. I'm going to hand  over now to Diane Mcgregor and Leah Ringland,   of Progressive Partnership, who will take you  through a slide presentation. We'll then come back  

to the table and answer Q&A from the various input  that you've got during the webinar. Thank you. Thank you, Riddell. Thank you very much. So I'm  going to share my screen now so that you can all   see. So here we are, so thank you so much for the  introduction Riddell. We're here today to present   the results of the survey. Now, just as a word  of warning, we've got a lot of data to go through   today and I'm not going to go over every single  figure in the charts that you'll see. But as   Riddell mentioned, they're going to be available  on the VisitScotland website in the next few days   so you can pour over the detail of it then. The  main objective for today is really to give you an  

overview of how the whole industry has been  impacted by the pandemic and also looking at some   data by the sectors and by different regions as  well. Some pieces of research has been conducted   in-house by VisitScotland and this is the results  of the third wave of research conducted by   Progressive Partnership. So today we're here  to feedback the results of this third wave. Many of you will have completed the survey and  will be familiar with the questions that were   asked in it, and thank you so much for those that  did respond. We had a fantastic response to it,   but for everyone else this is an overview  of how we're going to structure the results   today - around the questions that were in the  questionnaire. First of all we're going to look  

at the impact of the pandemic specifically on  turnover and staff numbers and also looking at   the number of businesses that have ceased trading,  either on a temporary basis or permanently.   We also looked at what actions and businesses have  taken to survive in the crisis and mitigate the   impact of the pandemic, and what further measures  are likely to be needed in the coming months.   We've also got a number of questions around  awareness and usage of advice and support. So   we looked at things like awareness and usage of  various sources of financial, and non-financial,   support that's available. What sort of  challenges of businesses faced in accessing   government support, awareness and usage of  information advice from government sector   and regional organizations and meetings? How do  you feel about the benefit of various types of   support that's been available? Then finally  we'll look at what the outlook is for 2021   in terms of the shorter and longer-term for  trading and staff retention, and also the   types of financial and non-financial support  that might be of value for businesses in 2021. So the data was gathered using an online  survey, it was sent out to tourism and   hospitality businesses across Scotland. The  survey link was distributed by the STERG  

organizations and other industry partners  either directly to the database members or   indirectly via their websites. Links were  put on websites and also on social media   channels as well. The fieldwork ran from the  19 November to the 7 December 2020. The final   sample that we got was almost 3,000 which  is fantastic. It's a good robust sample for   analysis at the top line level, but we can  also dig deep into data when we've got that   many responses and look at lots of sub-sample  analysis as well which is really really useful.   The margin of error in that is very small,  between plus or minus 0.3% and plus or minus 1.7%.  

The only thing really to say in terms of  the data analysis, although we do have a   big robust overall sample within some of the sub  samples, the base sizes do get down quite small.   So where that's the case, you'll see a little  yellow triangle and that's just to tell you   that the base size there is less than 50 and just  to be a bit cautious about the results that are   reported there. The other thing to note is because  it is a self-selecting survey, so people volunteer   to take part in the research, we can't be  absolutely 100% certain that it's representative   of the whole industry, the tourism industry, in  Scotland our sample. But as you'll see in a minute   when I go through the profile of the sample,  we've got a really good spread of industry sectors   and across Scotland as well. We're confident  given how widely distributed the survey link was  

that we do have a good robust and representative  sample of businesses within this sector. So these are the sub samples that we'll  look at as we go through the findings. In   terms of industry sector, we've combined  them so that we've got good sample bases   into non-serviced accommodation, hotels, bed  and breakfasts and guest houses; activities,   attractions and tours; food, drink and retail;  travel and transport; and events and festivals.   Travel and transport, and events and festivals  samples are quite small but there's probably   fewer businesses in those sectors anyway, so  it's not a huge problem. In terms of local  

authority we haven't covered every single one  because as I say the base sizes get very small,   but these are the ones that will include within  this presentation and some of these we've   brought together to give broader classifications  of area types and we've done that by rural   and local authorities ones, cities  and ones that cover the Islands. So before we just get into the the survey results I just wanted to take you back to when the survey   was actually happening, which was between the 19  November and 7 December last year (2020), and it   was a different place to where we are now. I  think we have to bear that in mind when we're   looking at the research results. So what we've got  here is a bit of a timeline in terms of the number   of COVID-19 daily positive cases in Scotland, and  sort of key events that were happening along that   timeline in the run-up to the field work and as a  field work happened. So at that point the number   of daily cases was very high but it was fairly  stable as well it wasn't in the upward curve   that we've seen more recently. The vaccine  was approved during field work so there was  

a hope and optimism around that as well. The  listing of restrictions for Christmas was also   announced at around about the middle of the  field work period so at that point you felt   confident enough to allow people to mix in family  groups and so on for five days over Christmas.   However there were just before fieldwork started  eleven local authorities went from level three   to level four just before the field was started  so there was cause for concern at that point as   well. The first vaccine was given the day after  field work finished so it was a worrying time   but it wasn't as worrying as it is now and  obviously things are very different now   to the were back then, so just bear that in  mind as we are going through these results. Okay sample profile, so who responded to the  survey and who did we speak to as part of this   research? So this gives us a breakdown in terms  of sector and you'll see that the sample includes   a majority of accommodation providers, two-thirds  overall of the people who responded to the survey   were representing accommodation providers. We  had a third from self-catering, 16% were bed and  

breakfast's or guest houses, and 10% were hotels.  We also have things like camping and caravan, and   hostels and things like that within that so that's  something to bear in mind when we're looking at   the results as well. But what you can see here  is we've got a good spread and a representation   from all different aspects of the tourism industry  in Scotland, and we also found that this profile   comparing it to previous waves of research  is actually very similar to what we had then. We grouped some of those sectors together  to just give us more robust sub samples,   so as you can see this is how the sectors  are grouped. So overall we have 39   in non-serviced accommodation such  as self-catering, hostels and so on,   and 26% where hotels, B&B's and guest houses,  and 20% were activities attractions and tours.   We had just 7% in retail so again that just was  a broad representation of the whole industry.  

Smaller proportions and events and festivals,  travel and tourism so as i mentioned before we   just have to be a bit cautious when the base  sizes get small for those ones. This is how   the sample spreads out across Scotland so the  highest response we got was from businesses   in the Highlands, 23%, followed by Argyll and  the Isles at 10%. But you can see that we got   responses to the survey from right across Scotland  and from almost every part, and good robust sample   sizes in a lot of the areas as well. Again this  was very similar to what we saw in previous waves   of research. This chart here notes a lot of  numbers, and it's probably quite sore in your   eyes to look at, but it's just to give you a  feel for an interesting split in terms of the   different profile of businesses that you have  in different areas of the country and different   cities versus rural and so on. For example we find  that non-serviced accommodation is particularly  

dominant in places like Dumfries and Galloway and  the Outer Hebrides and Western Isles, Perthshire   and so on. But when you get somewhere like Glasgow  and they have 7% non-serviced accommodation,   it was much more dominated by hotels and B&B's  and so on, so there's differences across the   profile of businesses in different areas. For  example another one we noticed was that Shetland   and Orkney had particularly high proportions of  businesses and activities ,attractions and tours   responding and Glasgow had a higher than average  proportion in the food drink and retail sector.

This is the size of the businesses and so perhaps  as we might expect we've got a high proportion of   small businesses in our sample and these  are the number of staff figures before   the COVID-19 pandemic struck, so the  number of full-time equivalent staff   in 2019-20. So half of the sample at that time  were just sole traders owner proprietor run   and a further 33% had less than 10 employees. 83%  overall were small or very small businesses with   10 or less employees in them. We also asked  what their number of staff there currently,   and this was obviously November/December last  year, employing including those that were   on furlough and we see an increase there  in the number of people who say they don't   have any staff that they just  run the business on their own. This is reflected also in turnover, so this is  a turnover pre COVID-19 and we have 62% with   us a turnover of £100,000 or less, so most of the  businesses are fairly small scale. But we do have   one in 10 with a turnover of more than £1 million  so there are some big ones in there as well.  

That is our sample so let's get into  the actual findings of the survey   and find out what they told us about their  experiences. So first of all in terms of the   impact of the pandemic on the business. We asked  them, how did the reopening of tourism affect   their business in the summer (when they were able  to open again) in the summer and the early autumn   months. Did that turn out to be better, worse  or pretty much as as expected? Their turnover,  

as we might expect, the largest proportion (over  a third) said that they did worse than expected,   however one quarter said that they did better  and about fifth said turnovers pretty much as   they had expected. But we did have one in five  here, 19%, say they didn't reopen at that time. This is those figures across the different  sectors. So the travel and transport sector   was the most likely to have done worse  than expected when they opened. it's 58%  

saying that, and food drink, and retail was the  most likely to say that they did better than   expected. So 39% felt that when they reopened  it was actually not as bad as they feared.   In terms of not opening at that time in the  summer and autumn the highest proportions   were found in the activities, attractions  and tours and events and festival sectors. This is these same figures again across the  different regions and local authorities.   The cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow  tended to be particularly badly affected,   about half saying that the impact was worse  than expected, so we got 48% there for   Edinburgh and 47% percent for Glasgow.  But Orkney and Shetland had the highest   proportions saying that the business did not  reopen, so at 36% and 38% (respectively) there. We also asked them regardless of whether  they did better or worse than they expected,   was their turnover actually higher  and lower than it had been in 2019   when they reopened. And not surprisingly the  majority, 78%, said that their turnover was  

lower than normal levels seen in 2019 with  13% saying it's above normal levels. That's   how that splits out across the different sectors  there, so almost all the travel and transport,   and events and festivals said that the  turnover was down compared to 2019. But we did see one in five and non-serviced  accommodation and food and drink saying that   they actually did a little bit better, but for the  majority even in those sectors they did do worse.   Looking across locations almost all of the  businesses based in cities and on the islands   reported that the turnover was down compared to  2019. So you can see that in Edinburgh it's 98%,   Orkney it's 96 percent, Glasgow 98% and Shetland  92%. Businesses in Perthshire and Dumfries and   Galloway were the least likely to report reduced  turnover in 2020, although again almost two thirds   in these areas did reported a reduction so  theirs was slightly better but still not good.

So we asked them also as as whether they're as  well as ask them whether their turnover was up or   down we asked them the percentage it was either up  or down so first of all looking at those that have   said their their turnover had gone up it was only  13% overall but the average increase was about 23%   and that's that how that splits out  across in different bands of percentages   far more of course 78% said that  their turnover was down compared to   in 2019 and the average decrease was 60% so  it's a significant decrease in turnover there   and we can see this so this is a across the  different sectors so percent overall that's what   the figures were just seemed as said it was down  and the percentage decrease was in one average   was sixty percent and across the sectors most of  them said that their their turnover was down and   for most of them the turnover was at least 50% reduced on average or in businesses in   each of those sectors and events and festivals  seems to have been particularly badly hit with   and 95% saying that the turnover was lower  than normal and the average decrease was 81%. And then this is the breakdown in  terms of areas in the regions so   almost all of the businesses and located in  Edinburgh Glasgow in the northern islands so   Shetland and Orkney reported that turnover was  downs with 98% Edinburgh 96% Orkney 98% Glasgow   and 92% Shetland as saying that turnover was down  and the highest percentage average percentage   decrease was found in Edinburgh Edinburgh  that was particularly badly out there as well so looking now occupancy levels and this  is obviously just amongst accommodation   providers and just those that opened uh during the  summer and also months and the average occupancy   these figures are the average occupancy across  accommodation providers certainly those that said   zero percent so that the highest occupancy level  was found in august and on average it was 64%   and July was 51% September 59% and October 47%  these are obviously much lower than they had been   in 2019 because we asked about 2019 average levels  as well so in August and 2019 it was close at 89%   on average July 85% and so on so you can see the  time watch occupancy levels have dropped since   2019 going into 2020 and this shows the breakdown  across cities rural and islands so the cities were   particularly badly hit in terms of occupancy  they were much lower than rural areas and the   islands and the rural areas tended to do slightly  better although obviously not as good as you would   normally do in a normal year and but intended  to do slightly better which intuitively and   anecdotally we know to be true because people  were keen to go to areas where they wouldn't   encounter many crowded places and so the rural  destinations tended to benefit from that. We also asked them about how much of their  revenue had been lost so far this year so   between March 2020 and when they did the survey  in November December so almost all businesses   reported losses due to the pandemic and it tended  to be in this region of 10 to 50,000 overall and   for 37% but we had also if you add up those  ones that comes to 39% said that their   losses were over 50,000 pounds and we had  some right and at the top about 1 in 10   said the losses were more than 500,000  pounds for them this figure here is   a calculation of the total lost revenue by  businesses that responded to the survey so if   we took everybody's lost revenue and added it all  up basically the figure comes to over a billion   pounds and that's just people who responded  to this survey that's not the whole industry   so it just gives us a feel of the scale of the  revenue lost and across all of these businesses. And this is a breakdown in revenue lost  across different sectors and so the value of   the revenue loss was highest for the hotel's bed  and breakfast and guest houses 40 in that sector   had lost more than a hundred thousand and which is  is likely to be do there's quite a lot of bigger   businesses within that sector as well and the  total revenue lost there and it's 470 million and   non-service accommodation losses tended to  be slightly lower and but then again a lot of   those businesses are smaller scale businesses and  that's likely to be the reason for that as well   over a third of food and  drink and the retail sector   also recorded high levels of losses  in in excess of a hundred thousand.

So what sort of impact did that have on staffing  and employment in the industry and I'm sure you're   all aware that a lot of people have had to  to lose some of their staff in total 76%   of those that responded to the survey  said that they'd had to reduce staffs   staff numbers this year and and the reasons for  that were either putting staff generally putting   staffing for a lower and not employing staff that  they normally would but willingly and sadly we've   also got over a third saying that they've  actually made staff permanently redundant. So looking at the those people who've had made  staff redundant we asked them also about the   numbers involved so how many of their full-time  part-time and seasonal staff have they had to   let go and since the start of the pandemic so  let me just explain these figures because it's   not immediately clear but 83% reported that they  had to let go of at least some of their full-time   staff and on average the number of full-time staff  that they had to make redundant was eight in total   and six and ten so sixty-one percent men of  businesses that have made staff redundant   said that it was part-time staff that they've  had to make to make redundant and on average   that was nine staff and then thirty percent over  all of those who have made staff redundant this   isn't the whole example it's just for those we've  missed after London said it was seasonal staff and   so much less than the seasonal but perhaps they  just didn't employ them in the first place in   most cases and the average number of seasonal  staff that have been made redundant reaches   13. so the overall average number of staff  lost by businesses was around about 17 staff   that's the average is there when you add up  the part-time full-time and seasonal staff   and that's been pulled up by a few that  are had quite a lot of staff made redundant   but for most people for 67% the number of  redundancies was between 1 and 10 in total.

So this is a breakdown here in terms  of industry sector and so if we take   all um businesses within the sectors  who have employed staff so not everybody   actually employs staff and they didn't make staff  redundant but amongst those who do employ staff   overall 26% said that they made staff redundant  but that is higher when we look at hotels   and guest houses and particularly its  hotels actually um so amongst hotels   it was 51% said that they made staff redundant  for b&b's and guest houses it was actually 16%   a lot of them are smaller businesses and the  average number in this sector was 24.3 and   staff lost to redundancies so the hotel sector has  been particularly badly hit by and staff losses. And then obviously all of this has an impact on  individuals and on individual people on their   mental health and this is one question that  we wanted to include in the survey as well   was in term the question was in terms of your  mental health during the content pandemic to   what extent would you say you've been negatively  impacted and people were asked to give a score on   a scale from one to ten so one would mean it had  no negative impact on their mental health at all,   10 meant that they had been negatively impacted a  great deal. And it's hard to see but a lot of this   chart is colored red and which means that they  gave a score of six or more out of ten in terms   of how negatively impacted they were and and  for the total sample we had 56% giving us a   score of six or more out of 10 and the overall  average score was 5.79 and you can see that how  

that varies across different industry sectors so  people working in the hotel's bed and breakfast   and guest house sector 60% of them gave a score  of six or more out of 10 and the average is 6.1   and also food drinking retail was quite high, 62% giving a score of more than five and   the average score was 6.17, so a personal impact on  that and great many people working in the industry.   Okay so that's the the impact so far and what  we went on to ask them about was what measures   have been taken to adapt to the situation and to  help them survive through until things get better   so what are the mitigations that we have taken  to try and get through the crisis? In terms   of measures taken to survive we asked them,  they were shown, this list lesson asked which   they had taken they may take or they weren't  planning to take at all. The main    measures taken were various versions of  rationalisation, so scaling back operations,   reducing workforce or reducing the range of  projects and services and that they offer. So  

around about a half had either already taken  these measures or they weren't planning them. A   half were also either taken had already taken out  and we're planning the creation of new revenue   streams of innovating in terms of new  ways of generating income for the business   and selling the business or selling key assets  were in measures that were only being considered   really by a minority of businesses. However a  significant minority, about one in four, were   considering selling the business and one in four  would consider selling assets within the business. And this shows how those figures break down  by the main industry sectors so non-serviced   accommodation providers were less likely  than others to have taken measures than other   businesses so the figures there are smaller when  it comes to the the non-serviced accommodation   providers when you compare it to hotels, B&B's and guest houses, activities attractions   and tourism, food drink and retail. So the creation  of new revenue streams is highest amongst the   activities tours and attractions sector and also  the food drink and retail sector, so about 70 - 73%,   in most sectors had created new revenue streams  or were planning to do so. In terms of selling the   business that was more prevalent in B&B's and guest  houses and non-serviced accommodation compared to   the other two sectors there. So about a third of  hotels, B&B's and guest houses

had or were considering selling the businesses and  about quarter for non-serviced accommodation. We also asked if they'd made any changes to their  business or plan to do any different post COVID-19   and so for example targeting new markets using  new distribution channels or creating new   products or services. So a third suggested  already done that sort of thing and 17%   said they were planning to so that's  overall half of the businesses had   made or were planning changes to the businesses  as a result of the pandemic. Most commonly   these were looking for new ways to market their  products and or targeting new markets, so 67%   saying they were looking for ways to market and sell  products and 60% for targeting new markets.

Okay so that's the the measures that have been taken or are planning to take so what was their  outlook at that point? Remember we're talking  to people in November and December 2020, but   how were they feeling about 2021 at that point?  First of all we asked them their likelihood   of reducing staff numbers in the coming months so  we've seen how many have actually already reduced   their staff numbers, but did they feel they  were going to have to come back even further   in the coming months? And for 56% overall  they considered this likely and with 33%   saying it was very likely and 23% saying  it was likely and the main reason for that   although we were in the middle of winter  it was not normal seasonal reductions it   was very much because of the pandemic 77%  of those who said that they were likely   to reduce their staff numbers further said  that it was simply because of the pandemic. And this is how that breaks down in terms of the  different sectors so when it comes to hotels and   breakfasts and guest houses seven out of ten said  that they expected to have to reduce staff numbers   and further in the coming months and again  that figure was actually higher amongst   hotels and it was for bed and breakfast and  guest houses so amongst hotels on their own   77% more than three quarters would  expect him to have to lose more staff   in the coming months and the majority of  food drinking retail and also expected to   lose more staff so that was at 60 percent  for food drinking retail so for them it was   also expected to be a continuing impact on  staff levels looking across regions we found   that businesses based in Stirlingshire,  Ayrshire and Arran, Edinburgh, Borders   and Glasgow were the most likely to anticipate  further staff reductions in the coming months   and if you look at cities all banded together  64% of businesses based in cities and expected   to reduce their staff levels in the coming  months at the time of the survey in December   another question that was asked and looking to the  future was how long would their cash reserves last   and very worryingly 21% so that's one in five of  the businesses that responded to the survey and   reported that their cash reserves had already run  out and a further 26 percent said they only had   three months of reserves left and then 23 percent  had it said they'd have it six months so there's a   lot of businesses there that are close to the edge  and in terms of surviving on their cash reserves   and hotels being b&b's and guest house were the  most likely to report that cash reserves had   already run out so it's 21% on average but it  was 27 percent in that group and then 31% said   they only had enough over the next three months so  that sector is perhaps one of the most precarious. In terms of their plans for the next six months  we asked them whether which of these options   they were most likely to be doing in the next  six months so either increasing the trading   continuing trading are they as they are or  reducing trading either because of their   covid restrictions or because of normal season  restrictions plus covid or just reducing their   trading as they normally would or had they decided  to close until next spring they're bearing in mind   the covert restrictions were much less at that  point so these figures are likely to be higher   now but at that time in six and ten businesses who were trading anticipated reducing trading in   the first part of 2021 so 60% overall and mostly  that was going to be due to covid restrictions   but 17% overall had decided that they were they  were best just to close now until next spring. And across the sectors those most likely  to have decided to close until next spring   where the hotels, B&Bs and guest houses  and activities, tours and attractions and   non-serviced accommodation to a lesser extent,  we're the ones that are most likely to have   decided. But across most of them they were  considering going forward on a reduced basis. Businesses based in Argyll and the Isles,  Highlands, Ayrshire and Arran were the most   likely to see that they would likely close until  spring and also Shetland and Stirlingshire as well   although the base sizes are a bit  smaller there but those were the areas   where we found the highest reporting, higher than  average proportions, of respondents saying that   they felt the best option for them was to close  into next spring until things start to improve. We asked them also about the outlook for  the whole of 2021. How were they feeling  

looking forward maybe a  bit more in the longer term   and almost three quarter of businesses did expect  to get through the crisis, but most of these,   so the 45% here, expected needing changes  in order to do so. One in 10 sadly do not expect   to survive the crisis and 17% were unsure  how they were going to go on at that time. So in terms of sectors, the most optimistic  sectors across all of the sectors, the most   businesses did expect to have to make changes to  survive crisis. The most optimistic sectors were   the non-serviced accommodation and food and drink  and retail but still there's a lot of worry there,   uncertainty and businesses likely to shut and  also those that will have to make changes to   survive. But the most uncertainty and concern  was strongest amongst hotels, bed and breakfasts,   and guest houses so 18% were unsure and 14% said  they didn't feel that they were likely to survive   the whole of 2021. Again this is how  this splits out across different areas  

so the expectations that businesses will survive  the crisis either by continuing as they are or   by making changes was prevalent across all of the  areas however up to 16% did not expect to survive   and particularly Perthshire, Edinburgh,  Dundee and Angus were the ones that were   slightly higher than the rest  in terms of that perception. Okay, so the next section and the final section  is about financial and other types of support that   have been provided to businesses in the tourism  sector in Scotland and in terms of support that   they've actually accessed already and what would  be most beneficial to them in the coming months.   So this first chart here tells us what financial  support different businesses have used. There's   a lot of figures on this so we'll just point to  the main ones here but the majority of businesses   over 8 out of 10 in fact have accessed some  form of financial support during the pandemic.   Most commonly that's been the business support  grant fund so nearly a half of the businesses   have accessed that, or the furlough scheme. So  either the furlough scheme that ran to 31st or the   one that started in November, about 36% overall  have accessed and used furlough. Sector specific  

support was a bit lower down but you'd expect that  because that's targeted at specific sectors so we   can see the percentage in there for example  of different sectors that accessed it. So for   culture organizations and venues recovery fund for  example a quarter of the businesses in events and   festivals had accessed that one so it was fairly  well used within that sector although overall it   comes out very low. The sector most likely to  access financial support where food and drink,   retail sector and hotels, bed and breakfasts  and guest house and those least likely to   access support where activities attractions  and tours and non-serviced accommodation.  

So this next chart will tell us a  little bit more about the challenges   that businesses have faced in  getting access to government support.   This was an open-ended question so people were  able to write down in their own words exactly what   the challenges they faced and this is just where  we've grouped those in order to analyse and give   percentages against it. So this is the proportions  of people who gave a response to this question.   The biggest challenge to tourism business in  terms of accessing government support seems to be   that being classified as ineligible for  any particular support they might go   for. So 60% overall mentioned something to do with  eligibility and this is the breakdown of all the   different types of issues that they experienced  in terms of that, so it was things like,   where they were located geographically, what  tier they were in, some of them said that they   were considered open and unaffected, if they  were self-employed caused problems as well,   the fact that they paid council tax and not  business rates, not trading long enough and so on   and so forth. There were all sorts of reasons that  affected their eligibility for government support   and that was a challenge in terms of accessing it.  Other things that were mentioned were things like  

confusing funding options and information  mentioned by 11% and funds are just simply   insufficient you need more money by 10% and on the  speed of the application process there as well.   So we've got all of the comments that  were made by the respondents but this is   just a little bit of a flavour. I won't read  these all out word for word but some of the,   I'll go through some of them so for example  this self-catering business in the borders said   "We fall through the cracks of all funds other  than rates relief which did not compensate enough   for the loss of income from which we continue to  suffer." And an outdoors activities business in   Orkney said, "Very little of the government  support available applies to my business or   situation. The one-off newly self-employed  grant of £2000 helped in the short term  

but the money is run out now and none of the  current support packages seem to apply to my   business." So that's the eligibility issue as  well. This is a tour guide in Dundee for example,   "Much of the support we were not eligible for  because we don't have a business property so we   don't pay rates and because they were restricted  to certain industries. There are lots of   different funds available from lots of different  organisations it's all very confusing but what   support's available and when, if you're eligible?"  So we've got the full list of everything that   everybody said and that has been poured over to  see if there's anything more that can be done.   Looking now at non-financial support so this is  looking at awareness of the different sources   of non-financial support that was available to  the industry, and it was generally fairly good.   So nine out of ten respondents said that they  were aware of at least one of these sources,   with the most recognised was industry  initiatives such as Good to Go. 66%,   two-thirds of businesses, were aware of that  and similarly advice and support from public   agencies, 65% were aware of that and lobbing  of government by industries bodies awareness   was 60%. So generally fairly good awareness of  the non-financial support that is out there.  

The food and drink and retail sector tended to  have lower awareness than other sectors, it was   consistently lower across all of those compared  to other sectors. This chart tells us how useful   these different types of support, of non-financial  support, are to businesses. So if they were aware   of it they were asked to give a score between  one and five in terms of how useful that support   is. And on the whole most of the support was  useful. You can see most of respondents gave   marks of either four or five out of five in terms  of the usefulness of it but the most useful was   a practical guidance that was given; so sector  specific guidelines for the opening and operating   covid-safe, 70% described that as useful.  Lobbying of government by industry bodies was   also something that was felt to be worthwhile  and useful by 66%. And sharing the results of   industry and research surveys. The fact that the  industry is listening to businesses also 66% said  

that was something that they found useful. But  even down at the bottom end here, more people   said for example advice and support from other  agencies such as FSB, more people thought that   was useful than not useful but just not as useful  as the ones at the top end of the chart there. Sector specific guidelines was  the most useful type of support.   We also asked them about their awareness and  usage of sources of information and advice   as well. So which of these that were on the list  here, which of those were they aware of, and which   of those had they actually used. So VisitScotland  was the most recognised and the most used. 85%   of the businesses that responded said that they  were aware of and 59% had  

actually used it. The Scottish Government business  support website was also widely known. 60% knew   it and it was used by 50%. Business Gateway  about half knew of that but it was only used   by a quarter. And then communications from your  sector destination organisation, just less than   half were aware of that and 40% had used it so  that was fairly well used as well. We found that   usage of the VisitScotland website, the STA and  comms from sector and destination organisations   tended to be lower for food, drink and retail  organisations rather than from other sectors. And   then communications from sector and destination  organisers were particularly likely to be used by   non-serviced accommodation providers, so things  that sell caterers, 60% had used communications   from sector and destination organisations so that  was particularly popular in that sector. Awareness  

and usage of local destination organisations  were highest from Moray, Speyside and Orkney. So of those that they had used they were asked  to say which one that they'd found most useful,   so they were only allowed to pick one response  for this question, the one that they thought   stood out as being the most useful to them. And  the communication from the sector or destination   organisation was the top answer here, 25%. One  in four pick that as a most useful source of   information advice followed by the Scottish  Government website and in third place here has been the most useful to  them. And communications again from sector and   destination organisations were particularly likely  to be described as useful by the non-serviced   accommodation sector so for amongst those  knows it was 47% selected communications   from the sector destination organisation as being  the most useful source of information and advice. This next question, so they were asked to rate how  important different types of longer-term financial   support might be to them, looking forward what  sort of types of financial support would be   most critical to them to get through the crisis  and survive in the future, in the coming months.  

They were asked again to give a mark out five  where five was critical and one was not needed   at all and you can see there that clearly the  main thing that would be beneficial in terms   of financial, longer-term financial support,  is access to funding from local authorities,   the Scottish Government and the UK government, so  governmental funding is the thing that most people   would like to see provided. We had 50% saying that  was critical and 69% overall giving the top two   scores for that four or five out of five. Access  to cash either via things like bank loans and   overdraft facilities less popular. 31% giving  that a top two box score and an investment in the   business in your business from private sector is  not something really on the whole that people feel   is going to help them. They much rather  have this funding support from government. And then they would also asked to rate how  beneficial non-financial support would be in   the longer term as well so as well as looking  at the financial support how useful would   longer-term non-financial support be to  businesses in the sector. And again, they were   asked to give a mark out five where five was 'very  beneficial' and one was 'not at all beneficial'.  

So in terms of non-financial support the main  ones that the respondents were looking for   was continued lobbying of government on behalf  of the tourism industry. 68% overall so that   would be very beneficial and also continued advice  and support from industry bodies. 60% said that   would be very beneficial as well so they were the  top two that you felt would be most beneficial.   Support with recovery marking marketing is  also something that would be useful to about   around about half of respondents but in terms  of developing a clear business plan and help the   Brexit transition, less so. So they're going to  talk to the ones that they are most interested in. And this this was an open-ended question  which asked people if there was anything   else that public sector or industry bodies could  provide in terms of long-term financial support   to help their businesses get through the crisis  so not everybody answered this but this was an   opportunity for people to write in what they  felt was going to be most useful to them   in the longer term in terms of non-financial  support and you can see of those who did leave   a response almost one-fifth mentioned something  to do with lobbying and we split out the different   types of lobbying that they would look for,  for example tax and rates, policy changes,   things like licensing and short-term lengths and  funds grants and supporting but if you add them   all together overall 18% said something to do  with lobbying. A number of businesses were also  

looking for their sector to be better represented  so inclusion of business sectors and for 15% and   12% mentioned promoting Scottish tourism  more generally to try and encourage tourism   in Scotland, help with advertising and marketing  and social media and so on was mentioned by 9%.   And these are some of them, this is an open-ended  question as I said, so these are some of the   things that people said in their verbatim  responses so things like "The Scottish government   website often covered guidance is very difficult  to navigate and not user friendly. Thank goodness   for Cairngorm Business Partnership which was able  to distill the same information. Overall there   are too many organisations vying for position  offering covid information and flooding the inbox   though action and hotel support grant application  is essential." So that was from a hotel in the  

Highlands. And from a bar in Stirlingshire, he  said "We need to have a long-term plan for getting   back to opening. The current guidelines do not  allow enough notice to plan for stock or staff.   We cannot organise any opening with a few days  notice so it needs to be clear and time effective   information for us to get back to opening." Then  this one here is a self-catering organisation and   in Argyll and the Isles, "Clarity and reopening  requirements, liability, indemnification,   broad marketing support, coherent strategy across  all tourism sectors so for example, no visitors   will want to come to want accommodation on Islay  if restaurants are all takeaways only and their   distilleries are working but not catering  to visitors," so it's a kind of coordinated   response that they were looking for. So that  takes us through all of our findings here and  

thank you for sticking with us almost to the end  here and there's a lot of figures to absorb there   so what I'm going to do now just sum up some  of the key findings that came out of the survey   and for you here. So first of all in terms of the  impact of the pandemic on tourism businesses so   despite the fact that the pandemic was less  severe at the time of research than it is now   the situation for very many businesses and  sector was critical. For some, the summer   and autumn months were better than expected but  for the large majority experienced lower turnover   than 2019 and the decrease was significant  60% on average was a decrease in turnover.   The majority of businesses in all sectors  reported that turnover was down but hotels,   B&Bs and guest houses, activities and attractions  events and festivals and travel and transport,   were the most severely affected. And in terms of  occupancy levels for accommodation providers they  

were also much lower than in 2019 but particularly  so in the cities, so as a result three quarters   of respondents reported that they had reduced  their staff numbers and with one third making   staff permanently redundant and hotels were the  most likely to report that they had made staff   redundant and also reported the highest average  number of redundancies. In terms of the measures   that have been taken to adapt and to survive the  crisis. Scaling back operations, reducing staff   and reducing the range of products and services  offered were the main actions that had been taken.   And half reported that they had made changes that  they plan to continue post-COVID such as looking   at different ways to market and sell targeting new  markets and creating new products and services.   Looking ahead, the outlook for 2021, so at  the time of the survey most businesses were   still anticipating to have to reduce their  staff numbers further in the coming months.  

One in five had run out of cash reserves while a  further quarter had enough to last three months   but nevertheless the majority plan to continue  trading but for most on a reduced basis.   Three-quarters did expect to survive the  crisis albeit with changes to the business   but one in ten expected to close permanently and  hotels B&Bs and guest houses were the most likely   to be concerned that they might not survive the  crisis. When it comes to support for the sector so   most businesses have been able to access some form  of financial support most commonly the business   support grant funding furlough and an awareness  of sources of non-financial support were also good   and it was generally considered valuable the  non-financial support as well as the financial   support looking forward businesses would gain  most value from access to funding lobbying of the   government and advice and support from industry  bodies are the things that they felt would be the   most beneficial going forward so thank you very  much, I hope you find that interesting I hope   it reflects a lot of what you already know I'm  quite sure but it gives you a bit of the figures   behind it as well and lots of food for thought  as well. We're now going to go to a question   and answer session so i'm going to hand over  to Jacqui Souter and who's the Senior Insight   Manager at VisitScotland and she's going to lead  us in the question and answer stop the screen Hello Good afternoon everybody thank you  very much Diane which was as I'm sure we'll   all appreciate quite a sobering presentation  and I don't think we're under any illusions   that it would be anything else. We've been  having some questions we've gone through   which we will try and answer now so I'm just  waiting for Riddell to appear on the screen.  

There he is. We've obviously got a huge amount  of data one thing I want to say straight away is   we've got a huge amount of data from this survey  and i know there's been a couple of comments about   you know the things have changed rapidly already  we tried really hard we got the top line findings   out within a week before Christmas actually and  you may not appreciate there's quite a lot of work   that goes into this kind of analysis and depth  to get the sectional and regional information   together in this way something else we've done  is produce a dashboard of information because I   know some sectoral organisations and regional  bodies as well will want to look at results   particularly for their area or their sector so  we have also been working on that first of all   I suppose a question for for for Riddell what  was the view of STERG of the research overall? Yeah I mean I think these surveys are  very very useful indeed in terms of   helping to plan for the future and the  timing as it was at November December   was really important as well because there was  a Tourism Taskforce report going to the Cabinet   and this followed an additional piece of  evidence to them to just emphasise the dire   straits that the industry were in so instead of  anecdotal and there's been loads of anecdotal   information we did have real statistics there  that this present a much stronger case and   I suspect to be honest given the huge changes that  have happened even since November December we're   now in a very different place and interestingly  we've got a STERG meeting tomorrow and   we'll be discussing these results in a wee bit  more detail and I think there could well be an   ask to do a follow-up fairly quickly given  the continued uncertainty in relation to   how long lockdown's going to happen because I  suspect a number of people way back in November   hoped that things would have changed by now and  would have had a much clearer picture of the way   ahead and that's not the case so Jacqui just be  ready to have another of your team to carry out   a follow-up survey maybe not as detailed as that  but in more specific in terms of how those various   public sector agencies can support the industry  in the way that we've been able to up until now.   Okay thank you very much I mean I do appreciate  how difficult it was for many businesses to   complete the survey that we gave them especially  in terms of you know what was the proportion of   decrease or increase in their turnover and  such like we got a lot of comments about   how challenging some of these questions were to  answer and so I just wanted to say personally how   grateful we are for people persevering with  filling these in and hopefully you can see   that the billion pounds figure that we got  just from those who responded to the survey of   business loss to Scotland gives really strong  evidence to give to The Scottish Government.   There's a couple of other questions Riddell  and this particular one on the short term lets   legislation which there is a fear that it will  put many businesses out of business going forward   what are STERG going to be doing about  that? Yeah given the fact that we have   a very very close working relationship  with the association of self-caterers   Fiona Campbell the Chief Executive there has  kept me in almost daily contact with her concerns   we have and unusually for VisitScotland as an  organisation put their head above the parapet here   and express concern to government that while some  elements may be required the timing is not right   in the middle of a a pandemic so we are asking  the government to delay the introduction of   this and to make it proportionate so  we followed very clearly and closely   the lines that ASSC has taken. I think the  thing that has shocked quite a few people is   the unintended consequence of drawing bed  and breakfast into that regime as well and   given the fact that the B&B sector has not  got a very strong overall association like   self-caterers then we've been trying to help  communicate that through the organisation. Oddly  

enough yet again short term lets is on the agenda  for STERG tomorrow so we'll make sure that it's   further identified with the colleagues in Scottish  Government tourism team but like the industry   we're very concerned about it we've seen all the  results of the service they've carried and we're   absolutely 100 per cent behind the industry  in terms of the unnecessary timing of this   in relation to the current situation everyone's  finding themselves in. Okay thank you that is all   the the main questions we actually had I think  and Diane you might have bamboozled everybody   with numbers there there's quite a lot of data on  those charts and what we'll do is our Comms team   will be in touch with everyone on the webinar,  the webinar has also been recorded so you'll be   given a link to that and if there are further  questions or if you are looking for particular   data then please let us know when you get that  email there'll be contact details on that and   we will do our very best to help you we can only  go down to a certain level of information because   the survey was anonymous and we are not able to  identify individual businesses and we take that   very very seriously so but we will do what we can  to help if you require further information have I   answered all the questions everyone else on the  call? Are there any other questions I've missed?   I think there's a couple of other questions but  I think they may be for a Riddle to answer so it   may be a case of passing them over and following  up with a Q&A document afterwards. Okay thank you   that's great. Just to say I suppose to  say, my thanks as well to individuals who  

completed the survey and to Progressive for the  huge amount of work that was done to create the   summary we've got just to reassure those  in the call this information just doesn't   stick in a shelf we don't do anything with it.  It was really interesting hearing about the   future funding support needed very specifically  and that will absolutely be going to government   in terms of the support that's needed as you're  probably aware there are a huge number of funds   being launched at the moment we're delivering  nine in VisitScotland but there's about 20 odd   and that absolutely adds to the confusion and I  sympathise with the person that raised that on the   on the research but we've been given a very strong  indication subject the Scottish Government getting   more funding that there could well be top-ups  to that as we move further along the lockdown   situation and the uncertainty and the other thing  to say is that we've been tasked as STERG to   lead a recovery plan for the industry over a  five-year period so there'll be an initial phase   which we'll look at the immediate needs  and then the medium term and then in the   longer term and all of that will have to  have some kind of funding figures on them   and the base for that will be this research so  that is critical in terms of advising government.   What concerns me slightly is that there is a view  among certain parts of government that everything   will be fine once we open up everything will  return to normal and the industry will be fine   and it's very clear from the research  here that is not going to be the case   and so i think what evidence we can get to support  a very strong long-term case for the industry   is very important so that's why this  research has been absolutely crucial   and why we will almost certainly have to do  some kind of follow-up in the months ahead.

2021-02-07 09:59

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