STERG Tourism Industry Survey Results
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 VisitScotland.org 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 visitscotland.org 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 visitscotland.org 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.