WE’RE more than six months into what now feels like a never-ending struggle; an uphill climb with very few moments to pause and take in a clear view of what’s happening, such is the pace that things are changing on a day-to-day basis.

It takes courage and resilience to keep climbing up through the mists but I think it’s within the human condition to feel that things will always get better in some way no matter how hard things are.

The long-term reality of this crisis is becoming clearer in so much as recognising and accepting now that we are in this for the very long haul. When I reflect over the last few months I see the will and determination of businesses, governments and people like you and me in adapting quickly, finding solutions, a way forward, asking for what we need and doing what we have with what we’ve got.

Our tourism community has got stronger, the Scottish Tourism Alliance has strengthened – we have never had to work so hard to ensure that the voices of the many thousands of tourism businesses and their suppliers, from the smallest to the largest across all sectors, are heard.

The STA has championed ‘doing the right thing’ at every single step of this journey; opening up the sector again safely and in a way that offers confidence to business owners, their teams, customers and our communities. We have pushed hard for financial support with the aim of filling every possible gap which has appeared after each funding announcement.

We have maintained a positive spirit to carry us all through what we thought would be the hardest months for our industry. Like you, we hadn’t allowed ourselves to get to the point where we thought it would get harder.

It has, and it is going to be.

We will continue to cast our minds, eyes and energies forward to get the long-term measures in place for the survival and sustainability of our industry through our activity within the Tourism Task Force and the Scottish Emergency Response Group, however what is just as important in the short term is to do the right thing. In every way.

For us, that means continuing to work hard as a team to help navigate tourism businesses through the next chapter of unknowns, pushing hard to get the support we need for the sector and not giving up on that.

We need the job retention scheme to be extended as a priority because simply put, many hundreds of thousands of people will no longer have a job in five weeks’ time and businesses will fall to the ground for good.

We must have the 5% VAT rate extended, not just for next year but for the long term. We need a targeted funding package to keep our tourism businesses afloat until both our international and domestic tourism markets return in an impactful, meaningful way.

We have done the absolute best with the tools and support we have been given and we’re grateful to the Scottish and UK governments for that and to the civil servants who work around the clock with us. Our businesses have worked hard to adapt and keep their teams in employment, their staff and customers safe. Our members have done the right thing at all costs and we must now look to both governments to do the same for Scotland’s tourism industry at a time when we need it most.

Tourism really is everyone’s business, as much yours as it is ours. There really is nothing more important than doing the right thing in a time of crisis. For everyone.

Our survival depends on it, in every way.

Marc Crothall is the chief executive of Scottish Tourism Alliance