Scotland’s tourism sector is a recognised national economic wealth, mainly delivered by small and micro businesses, with the reflected value of exceptional visitor experiences generated by the whole tour boat sector being central to Scotland’s tourism status.
The sector however is increasingly squeezed by economic weight against limited consumer spending importantly, the value creation needs to be recognised through more direct support.
Alan believes that this exposes a limited strategic vision in governmental policy. A re-set on financial support: a re-prioritisation; a whole new control panel on the policies, choices and action needed that provide better incentives on what we can do now to be more sustainable is now critical. This means, long-term finance, tax breaks, VAT reduction, fuel subsidies, sustainable products, innovation grants, light-weighting materials, digital to replace paper, new power sources, training and re-training support: “funding to do - not to have consultants tell you what you should do”, says Alan.
Support for adoption of e-vehicles is not mirrored in the marine sector to develop e-tour boats.
Innovation funds are inadequate. The opportunity to access even insufficient funds is disproportionately more complex than finding the meaningful larger sums available for other sectors. In supporting fishing, wind farm business supply chains and corporate level development, there is a real threat that a lack of integrated strategy could support one sector to the detriment of sustainable tourism.
The frustration is that we know business can be better: it can implement change now that would help towards maximising the contribution to a net zero target. Most just can’t afford it now. We need to be realistic.