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Careers About
Services Projects 27 Insights 36 Podcasts 16 Careers About
COVID-19 National Tourism Recovery Plan for Scotland
Strategy & Consulting
Scottish Tourism Alliance
Benchmarking analysis
trend analysis
action planning
stakeholder interviews
gap analysis
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group’ (STERG) - a coalition of Scotland’s public sector agencies and business groups- worked to monitor the effects of the pandemic on Scotland’s tourism sector, and coordinate the Scottish Government’s response. Looking ahead, the STERG was asked by the Scottish Government to develop plans that would support the sector’s longer-term recovery too. STERG turned to TOPOSOPHY to facilitate this process. Naturally, we were delighted to help.
The Challenge

We were asked to carry out consultations with 100+ Scottish tourism industry stakeholders to assess how recovery measures could best address both short and long-term challenges, such as climate change and the need for robust visitor management policies. We brought everything together in a series of policy recommendations which were presented to the Scottish Government in November 2021.

Objective 01

Make an independent assessment of Scotland’s tourism recovery priorities and approaches to date.

Objective 02

Gather diverse points of view from the country’s tourism sector on long-term priorities for recovery through multiple online workshops.

Objective 03

Review policy documents, reports and actions to date, to identify gaps and priority areas for future actions.

Objective 04

Recommend the most critical policy priorities and measures requiring investment, taking into account global best practice.

Objective 05

Bring all recommendations together in a report to inform government decision makers and industry leaders.


The ink was barely dry on Scotland’s National Tourism Strategy ‘Scotland Outlook 2030’ (for which TOPOSOPHY had supported the country’s tourism sector in developing the action plan), when COVID-19 struck.

In fact, the presentation event on 4th March 2020 was one of the last B2B events to take place in the country before lockdown stopped the sector in its tracks. Throughout 2020 and 2021, government efforts were understandably focused on supporting the country’s tourism sector through the darkest moments of the crisis. However, in early 2021, attention was already turning to how recovery funding could best help to address long-term challenges too.

With this in mind, we carried out an engaging series of workshops and interviews to allow stakeholders with diverse points of view to put forward their concerns and ambitions for the country’s long-term tourism recovery. We reviewed what was working well internationally, and put forward a balanced series of recommendations that would help get the country back on track.

Key element 01

Global Benchmarking and Best Practice Case Study Analysis, including ‘Net Zero as an opportunity’ on global priorities for tourism recovery

Key element 02

Delivered online interviews, focus groups and workshops with 100+ public-private sector decision makers from across Scotland

Key element 03

Multiple one-to-one stakeholder interviews with Scottish government and industry representatives to test and refine recommendations

Key element 04

Presentations of consultation findings, and recommendations report for the Scottish Government

Key element 05

Worked with the STERG to compile a 2-year recovery plan, together with key actions and investment requirements

Key element 06

Public-facing update report with detailed recommendations


Grounded in the comprehensive analysis of the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism sector and the country's recovery needs, our project's outcomes have taken shape:


The Scottish Government has provided a £25 million Tourism Recovery Fund supporting a range of projects this year, and is currently considering the best approach to Phase 2 recovery work, covering the following 2 years.


The recommendations published in an industry update in November 2021, discussing the post-COVID-19 impacts on the tourism sector, and the country’s long-term recovery needs.

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister of Scotland
“The tourism sector, along with the hospitality sector, is globally recognised as having been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Effective recovery will be vital in ensuring the sector can be a force for good in the local and national economy – through fair work, sustainable jobs, and value for communities - and place Scotland as a world leader in responsible tourism.”
Want to know more?
Download your copy here:
Tourism Task Force Recovery Plan
Next Project
Research & Intelligence
ETC Handbook on Encouraging Sustainable Tourism Practices