Shetland Tourism Association is seeking new members to join the group and benefit from information provision and support during the current Covid-19 crisis.
The tourism sector has been severely impacted due to the pandemic; many businesses closed in accordance with government guidance, tour and accommodation providers facing a significant number of cancellations, businesses in the creative industries having large orders cancelled and delays in financial support being released by the government. There are still many receiving no support at all while facing the loss of their entire season, such as tour guides operating as self-employed businesses from home and hotels not qualifying for financial support.
Shetland Tourism Association currently has 58 members from all sectors of the industry in Shetland and has been providing regular updates with focussed information for tourism providers during the crisis and this support will continue as the industry tries to renew and recover.
Development Officer, Nadine Samuel has been busy speaking directly with many members and flagging up issues with appropriate local and national agencies, as well as signposting members to financial and other support where available. Nadine said: “Our focus is to support and represent the tourism industry for Shetland. To give the best possible representation of the issues and challenges we face as an industry, it is vital that we hear from as many people as possible involved in the tourism sector.”
The Association’s website has a dedicated members area where resources are shared, and members can have a public listing. Details of member benefits are published on the website and new members can join by completing the online form. Annual membership is £50, however in recognition of the current financial challenges, this has been reduced to £30 for the remainder of 2020.
Current member, Kathy Coull from Fair Isle said on her Facebook page: “The Shetland Tourism Assoc. works really hard for its members. In these uncertain times it is doing a tremendous job in keeping its members informed with all the fast-changing information relevant to the industry… The current crisis will stretch STA resources, so please consider joining and in doing so benefit from its support and advice in preparation for a better future.”
The Shetland Tourism Association actively supports and engages its members and will be looking to consult as soon as is practicable on the development of a new Shetland Tourism Strategy. Although the Strategy published in 2018 was scheduled to run until 2023, the fundamental changes to the industry as a result of Covid-19 will require a radical re-think to recover the industry in the coming years.
Mrs Samuel added “In order to fully understand the challenges the tourism industry is facing in both the short and longer term, we need to have meaningful input from the people who sustain and contribute to tourism in Shetland. We are currently seeking new members to ensure we have the widest possible consultation at an early stage, and also to ensure everyone has immediate access to help and advice when they need it.”
Anyone interested in becoming a member can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Nadine on 07842 546921.