A new rail pass for “staycationers” and vouchers for popular destinations are at the heart of UK Government plans to increase domestic tourism to Scotland.
Ministers have launched plans aimed at recovering domestic tourism to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023.
The tourism recovery plan includes a rail pass later this year which will provide flexible travel across the country for “staycationers”, as well as providing discounted entry to tourist attractions.
There will also be a £10 million National Lottery Days Out scheme, which will provide discounts to tourist attractions between September 2021 and March 2022.
In 2019, Scotland welcomed almost 3.5 million inbound visitors who spent £2.5 billion in the country.
Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart said: “Tourism is a cornerstone of Scotland’s economy so it’s fantastic that this ambitious UK Government plan is helping the sector recover.
“Scotland has a huge amount to offer tourists, from our vibrant cities to our spectacular scenery.
“The launch of a new rail pass will encourage people from across the UK to come and explore our beautiful country while giving the tourism and hospitality sectors a much-needed boost.”
UK tourism minister Nigel Huddlestone said: “Our brilliant tourism sector is one of our country’s greatest assets, making a huge contribution to our economy and delivering jobs across all communities.
“This is why we’ve provided it with £25 billion in support so far during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The tourism recovery plan is our blueprint for how the sector can build back better from the pandemic, even faster than forecasts predict.
“It’s been a challenging year for the tourism sector, especially for our cities, but I know they stand ready to welcome visitors back and I encourage everyone to rediscover the UK’s fantastic tourism offer.”
Scottish tourism minister Ivan McKee said: “It has been an incredibly difficult year for all businesses but we do not underestimate the acute challenges our tourism and hospitality sectors have faced.
“We have provided an unprecedented amount of funding for the sector, including a £25 million tourism recovery package, which we are currently rolling out over the summer months.
“This fund will help support domestic and international marketing, with a focus on rebuilding visitor demand, development of a net-zero pathway for tourism and social tourism and days-out vouchers.
“We welcome the UK Government’s initiative on rail passes and vouchers for attractions to boost the staycation market, and look forward to giving visitors a warm welcome to Scotland.
“The Government is committed to building a sustainable recovery from the pandemic and the tourism industry will play a key role in those plans.”