A RALLYING call has gone out to people with skills, expertise and experience who are currently furloughed or on a reduced working pattern to help address the challenges facing Scotland’s tourism sector.

The aim of the furlough initiative is to help small tourism businesses recover by providing targeted support and mentoring that can enable them to take forward identified actions, outputs and outcomes during this period of enforced reflection.

The call to arms - Getting Ready for Recovery - has been championed by around 120 alumni of the Destination Leaders Programme (DLP), a joint initiative for tourism industry professionals delivered for the past seven years by Edinburgh Napier University and Scottish Enterprise.

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Professor Jane Ali-Knight, of Edinburgh Napier University’s Business School, said: “It is intended that involvement will fall under the acceptable category of professional training for furloughed professionals, and will help maintain and extend their professional skills, expertise, experience and networks.”

This will mean projects taken up will be focused on objectives that underpin the Scottish Tourism Strategy to 2030, as well as wider destination leadership, development, management, industry resilience and recovery, and destination promotion, the university said.

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Kenneth Wardrop, a fellow DLP founder, said: “We want to act quickly, working with existing groups such as Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) and Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in order to start applying practical thinking and solutions in response to the evolving and devastating impacts on Scotland’s tourism industry.”

Edinburgh Napier University is also running a free online course through FutureLearn to help small tourism businesses understand the power of data they hold or can access in helping them market themselves more effectively at this critical time.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Strathclyde are working with European partners to tackle social exclusion created by mass tourism in cities such as Edinburgh.

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