Back to Business: Restarting the tourism sector FAQs

Frequently asked questions following our Back to Business webinar on Restarting the tourism sector.

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3 min read

Q. What are the procedures regarding a guest who is showing COVID-19 symptoms?

The ASSC advice states that according to UK Hospitality guidelines in Scotland, if a guest presents with symptoms of Covid-19 or is asymptomatic but declares the need to self-isolate, they should be advised to check out and return home to self-isolate according to current government guidance. If the guest has acute symptoms, has breathing difficulties, or their life is at potential risk, seek medical help immediately. Businesses should refer to NHS Inform for further advice on what action to take in the event of a known or suspected case of Covid-19 within the premises. Be aware that guidance can change, so always check the government sites if a case arises in your business.

It is also worth reviewing and updating your cancellation policies and ensuring transparent communication to guests at the point of booking.

Q. Is there a limit to how many people you can host in self-catering accommodation at any one time?

As we commence phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s route map, it will be possible to meet with people from more than one household indoors with physical distancing and hygiene measures in place. This will also apply to self catering accommodation. Please note however, this will require hosts to practice their own self judgement on limiting numbers, as the capability to practice social distancing will depend on the property you own and operate from. While social distancing measures remain in place, it would need to be possible for individuals or families to follow these measures within your property.

Q. What guidance can you offer indoor children’s soft play centres and similar facilities? When will it be safe for us to reopen?

Currently, the Scottish Government’s route map indicates that this will not likely happen until phase 4, and there are no timings placed on that at present. However, this may change over the coming weeks dependent on the R rate.

Q. I’m based on the Isle of Jura and we plan to open our tourism businesses by mid July. However, it’s proving difficult to get ferries here. What can we do to accelerate this?

Ferry capacity will be decided by the Government and currently is heavily influenced by the 2m social distancing requirement. If this can be reduced to 1m, capacity may be increased allowing more people to travel. We’ll take a lead from the First Minister on this and update our guidance accordingly.

Q. We are a tour/coach operator offering private guided tours and also coach hire in mini-coaches. Does the 2m distancing apply to vehicles?

Yes, as it stands the 2m rule still applies.

Q. Are there any news guidelines on weddings?

We are expecting an update on this in the coming weeks from the First Minister.

Q. We are an inbound tour operator working on a new service development. Unfortunately our Business Gateway mentorship is terminated. Is there any way we can get a similar kind of support to help us develop and promote our new product and services?

Firstly make contact with your local Business Gateway office to set up a one to one consultation via virtual call or video. The Business Gateway website also offers a one stop shop of support services with webinars, online video tutorials, checklists, guides and templates. The Coronavirus hub on the site also offers a range of resources specific to the challenges businesses are facing right now.

Q. I run a chocolate company called Chocolates of Glenshiel. I wondered what support there is from VisitScotland or other organisations for food and whisky businesses like ours.

If funding is what you are looking for, findbusinesssupport is a good first port of call to look for any relevant support. A Business Gateway adviser may also be able to point you in the right direction, so make contact with your local office. Both VisitScotland and Business Gateway will be able to help with marketing your business. Visit Bgateway.com or VisitScotland.org for more information.

Q. Self catering accommodation appears to be required to complete a health questionnaire in advance. What is the protocol here?

ASSC advice states it is important that you obtain contact details for guests, to include name, address, phone number and email address. This is important information for track and trace. Keep the information in accordance with your GDPR protocols and you may wish to consider only keeping the information for 6 to 12 months. A health questionnaire isn’t essential, but may be implemented by accommodation providers if they feel it’s appropriate and in line with their policies.

Q. How does one find a DMO in their area?

All are listed on VisitScotland.org

Q. Are we open to all countries subject to the 14 day Quarantine for international travellers? Or is there a banned list?

This changes daily. It is best to check the latest UK Government advice for updates.

Q. Is there advice available on sea water and its cleaning properties. This question relates to cleaning a boat during and in between voyages.

Consult Sail Scotland for more information.

Q. We have a small shop and theatre. Would it be advisable to ask all customers to wear a face covering?

Consult the Scottish Government guidelines for your sector. Face coverings are currently only mandatory on public transport. This may change in future.

Q. Is there clear advice yet about visitor collateral such as guides, maps and leaflets used at accommodation providers and attractions? Is it best to avoid these to be as zero touch as possible?

There is significant added value to a guest’s stay where ‘extra touches’ are provided. Evidence suggests that the virus does not survive long on paper. However, you may wish to consider either a rotation of items, where items are bagged/boxed, taken away and stored securely for 72 hours or whether any items can be wiped, cleaned and disinfected at changeover. Be clear to explain this to guests so they don't just think you haven't bothered taking out risky items. Alternatively, you could half the collections, then take half out, and each turnaround you swap what's there.

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