The Scottish government is opening up funding for the tourism industry across the country after the pandemic shut down guides, hotels, restaurants and all other tourism facilities.
A pot of £2.3 million has been set aside for hostels in Scotland, which a part of a wider sum, totalling £104.3 million, set aside for the industry as a whole.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “The pandemic is having a long term and devastating impact on tourism and the industry will need significant support now and for some time into the future.
“For tourism to be truly accessible to all, we need to have a range of accommodation to suit any budget and hostels provide a unique kind of shared visitor experience that can create lifelong memories and friendships.
“But social distancing measures and restrictions on household numbers mixing means it is very difficult for hostels to operate.
“Our focus for the immediate future has switched from marketing to funding to ensure that the nine funds we are administering get to businesses as quickly and efficiently as possible. Colleagues from across our organisation have been diverted from their usual roles to this vital task.”
The money is being handled by Visit Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government with help on developing the fund from Scottish Independent Hostels, Hostelling Scotland and Independent Hostels UK.
In a joint statement on behalf of Scottish Independent Hostels, Hostelling Scotland and Independent Hostels UK, a spokesperson said:
“On behalf of the Scottish hostel sector we would like to thank the Scottish Government for this dedicated financial support. It shows that they appreciate the severe difficulties which both individual hostels and hostelling itself are facing during the pandemic. This lifeline recognises the vital role hostels play in Scottish tourism and their contributions to the economy.
“We also want to thank VisitScotland for working with us to ensure the fund makes a difference to hostelling businesses and their communities.
“We will continue to work together as a sector and look forward to engaging constructively with the Scottish Government as we face the challenges that lie ahead.”
Hostels looking to submit their applications have until 5pm on 26 February 2021.
More information on applications can be found on: https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/funding/hostels-support-fund