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A Scotland-wide programme to support business and community-led tourism enterprises taking the lead in the sector’s COVID-19 recovery has been launched.

The Scottish Tourism Leadership Programme will offer a range of opportunities to develop personal skills and expertise, to gain insight from fellow participants and subject specialists, and to become part of a growing network of people working together to develop innovative tourism opportunities.

Funded by the Scottish Government’s £25million Tourism Taskforce Recovery Plan, Scottish Enterprise (SE), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) are working together to design and deliver the programme which is offering fully funded places for up to 300 participants between now and March 2022.

Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said:

“We know that tourism and hospitality businesses have been extremely hard hit by the pandemic and we have been working closely with the sector on a range of initiatives to help them get back firmly on their feet. A talented and valued workforce will be vital to enabling recovery.

“The Scottish Tourism Leadership Programme is just one strand of the £25million Tourism Recovery Taskforce Plan that will support up to 300 participants develop their skills and networks to help our valued tourism sector begin working towards a strong and sustainable future that offers attractive high value prospects.

“Recovery will take time, but this funding will enable communities and tourism businesses to come together to work on solutions for the industry and I encourage anybody working in the sector who is looking to develop their skills to consider applying.”

Introduction to tourism leadership

The first programmes open for application now are Introduction to Tourism Leadership which starts in August, and Communities Leading in Tourism which begins at the end of September. An additional more in-depth Tourism Leadership Course is coming soon.

All courses are available online, with details available at Individuals from tourism businesses and organisations based anywhere in Scotland can apply for a place.

Introduction to Tourism Leadership is led by Scottish Enterprise. A three-day workshop, the sessions are delivered by Edinburgh Napier University and are focused on gaining the leadership skills , knowledge and networks required for an individual to successfully lead within their own business, community and wider destination. There are eight cohorts planned – each for a maximum of 30 enterprises. Applications can be made via Edinburgh Napier’s website -  

Communities Leading in Tourism 

Communities Leading in Tourism is an online personal development programme led by HIE and delivered by the Social Enterprise Academy. Up to 30 places are available to individuals from community-led tourism development organisations based anywhere in Scotland.

More information is available at  

Tourism network 

In addition to the training courses, the programme will incorporate a series of online sessions for the existing alumni network to maximise the benefits of the partnership work.

Current programme participants will join a tourism network established through previous successful programmes – the Destination Leaders Programme (DLP), the first three cohorts of the Communities Leading in Tourism programme, and the Rural Leadership Programme (RLP).

All participants will also have access to a Tourism Leadership Conference taking place early next year, and a SOSE-led dedicated Tourism Leadership and Recovery Fund to support collaborative development projects.

Access to the programme is limited, the application process is competitive, and organisations applying should confirm they meet the programme criteria and where possible should highlight how they will deliver best benefit and return for the locality/sector.

Further information

Find out more about the programme and the full range of business support available at

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