About Us

19 May 2020

HES unveils initial findings of COVID-19 impact survey

We have published preliminary findings from our research into the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s heritage sector.

A person sits with a laptop on their lap and types

HES surveyed a wide range of heritage businesses and organisations last month, finding that almost 80% of respondents had experienced either a loss of work and revenue due to the current pandemic, while almost half (47%) had seen a negative impact on the wellbeing of staff and volunteers. Over 70% of those surveyed also reported having to cancel planned income generating events.

Results also show almost a quarter of those surveyed (22%) say they face a high risk of their business not surviving the current situation without major intervention; while more positively, over half said they felt only a moderate (40%) or minimal (13%) risk and believed they would be able to continue operating as before.

Results also indicate the areas of the sector most at risk under the current situation are museums and heritage education and learning services.

The survey engaged a diverse range of respondents including firms specialising in:

  • traditional skills
  • tourism businesses
  • specialist architects
  • event providers
  • community museums

Findings also illustrate how businesses have responded to the current situation so far, what they are doing to prepare for resuming work, and the support they have sought to keep going in the interim.

HES will now look to discuss the findings with sector partners and stakeholders to inform coordinated and collaborative action to address the effects of Coronavirus on the sector and how it responds going forward.

Commenting on the survey, HES Director of Development and Partnership, Alison Turnbull said:

“I would like to thank all our partners across the sector who took part in the survey, the findings of which will be invaluable as we all start to look towards the future in these uncertain times.

“Our aim with this work was to understand the impact of a changing situation on the historic environment sector and help inform our actions and those of others in response to the current pandemic.

“The findings will support the longer term recovery of the sector and form the basis for future collaborative working as we all look ahead and work together for the benefit and future success of our sector and the positive impact it has on Scotland overall.”

Preliminary results from the survey can be downloaded below. The full analysis will be published in June.

Download initial survey findings [PDF, 616 KB]