Visit Isle of Man, an Executive Agency within the Department for Enterprise, has welcomed the news from Treasury Minister, Alfred Cannan MHK, regarding an additional £4.5 million of support for Tourist Accommodation businesses.
The additional funding support through the Strategic Capacity Scheme (‘SCS’) will help businesses retain staff and skills, as well providing a level of support to fixed overheads for the period 1st October 2020 – 31st March 2021. The funding forms part of wider winter support package for the Travel and Tourism industry which includes a £4.2 million extension to the Salary Support Scheme and a £1.7 million extension to the Coronavirus Business Support Scheme (‘CBSS’) to 31st March 2021. The Financial Assistance Scheme (‘FAS’) and Salary Support Scheme for eligible tourism businesses have also been extended to the 31st March 2021.
Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise, commented:
‘The additional funding offered to the Travel and Tourism Industry through the Economic Recovery Fund is a clear signal of the commitment from Government to support the industry as well as acknowledgement of its importance to the growth of the Island.
‘Whilst the future remains uncertain, it is clear that with the current restrictions and forecasts across the UK, our Tourism businesses will continue to feel the effects of the pandemic for some time. The Island currently remains COVID free in the community thanks to the robust policies and processes we have in place, and we appreciate that decisions must be made that are in the best interests of our Island’s health, societal and economic needs. However, these policies impose significant challenges on the Travel and Tourism industry.
‘The Department and Visit Isle of Man Agency members will continue to work with industry to ensure the appropriate level of business support and advisory services are offered during this ever changing situation.’
The additional funding support has been driven by the Visit Isle of Man Agency following the results of an independent review and assessment of the case for further financial support by KPMG and Hotel Solutions.
Ranald Caldwell, Non-Executive Chair of the Visit Agency, said:
‘I would like to thank the Economic Recovery Group for their continued support which comes at a critical time for our industry, as we enter the winter period without the reserves the sector would have accrued from normal trading conditions. Whilst the Guernsey air bridge and Island staycation offering have assisted in part, the sector has suffered significant financial losses.
‘The Isle of Man Government has delivered a number of support packages over the previous six months but we recognised the need for a more substantial and responsive funding system to retain strategic capacity within the accommodation sector for future tourism seasons. We know that to achieve this we must listen to our stakeholders and involve them in the process to achieve the most suitable outcome for both the Island and accommodation owners. As a result, our recent consultancy project included over 30 interviews and 150 questionnaires with members of the accommodation sector and political members. I would like to thank them for their tenacity, cooperation and patience with us in such difficult times.
‘In further support of the accommodation sector, Visit Isle of Man would like to advise those businesses currently registered with the Department that the 2020-21 registration fees will automatically roll over to cover the 2021 – 2022 season on completion of the annual registration form. New accommodation businesses wishing to join the sector are still required to complete a full registration with the associated registration fee.’
‘The Visit Agency are currently working on policies and projects to drive our recovery including enhanced research across the UK and Ireland to understand the market potential in light of COVID-19, as well as concentrating on embedding a ‘visitor first’ programme to ensure that when visitors are able to return they are met with the best possible experience. The Visit Agency will be issuing invites over the coming week to our next Industry Day in November where we will share and discuss our research findings and plans in more detail. There will also be a series of ‘coffee & cake’ drop in sessions around the Island where agency members will be on hand to chat through any issues or answer any questions you may have. Further details of these sessions will be issued in due course.’
Businesses wishing to apply for the Strategic Capacity Scheme (Tourist Accommodation) Round 3 Funding will be able to do so from Thursday 1st October at: https://www.iomdfenterprise.im/financial-support/funding/coronavirus-strategic-capacity-scheme/. Industry members wishing to discuss the scheme, along with any of the additional support packages available to them can contact the team on 686663.