The scheme allows for eligible businesses to apply for individual grants of up to £250,000 in addition to a suite of wrap-around business support and advice.
The programme will be jointly administered by the Scottish Government’s enterprise agencies and builds on the existing funding and support for tourism businesses through the Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Hardship Fund and the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund.
Tourism secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We recognise the important contribution the hotel sector makes to tourism and the wider Scottish economy, supporting approximately 46,000 jobs across the country.
“Scotland is home to many of the world’s iconic hotels and they, like much of the sector, have suffered considerably this year from the impacts of coronavirus. The Hotel Recovery Programme is a dedicated funding package designed to safeguard jobs in these establishments and offer some security until the new tourist season begins in summer 2021.”
He added: “The Scottish Government is doing everything in its power to support the tourism industry, however without significant borrowing powers at our disposal this action will always be limited.
“Whilst we very much welcome measures taken by the UK Government, such as accepting our call to cut VAT rates for the tourism industry, longer-term support for jobs is necessary. I hope the UK Government responds positively to our ask for an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.”
UKHospitality has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of its Hotel Recovery Programme and the confirmation this provides of the importance of, especially larger, hotels to the country’s economy.
However, it has “expressed concern” that the programme is not sufficiently resourced to deliver the scale of support required by the hotel sector.
UKHospitality executive director for Scotland, Willie Macleod, said: “The £14m programme is a positive sign of intent, but it is going to be a drop in the ocean for the sector. The reality is that any programme of recovery intended to keep hotels in Scotland open and staff in jobs, will need to be much bigger and much more wide-ranging.
“It must be hoped that this is an initial step in supporting these businesses and that further resources will be made available in the likely event that the programme is over-subscribed.”
He added: “Support will need to be much more extensive to ensure it reaches all businesses who need it. UKH estimates that there are around 950 larger hotels in Scotland, with a rateable value over £51,000, which did not qualify for grants that were available to smaller businesses.
“Many were unable to access government-backed loans or the Hardship and Pivotal grants provided by Scottish Government. On average, hotels had to meet £60,000 each month during lockdown to cover fixed costs.”