Destination management organisations at risk of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic will receive financial support from the government.
Up to £1.3 million will be available through a scheme launched by the department for digital, culture, media and sport.
The funding, which is available to any at-risk destination management company in England which usually receives at least half of its income from commercial sources, will be used to cover operating costs.
Funds can also be used to cover the cost of employees that cannot be furloughed under the coronavirus job retention scheme because they provide crucial business support services.
Tourism minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: “We also need to act now to help the tourism sector be as strong as possible when we get through this pandemic.
“Management organisations will play a vital role in this recovery and this fund will support their essential work.”
Destination management organisations provide expert advice and guidance to local businesses and are a crucial part of developing and promoting English tourism.
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, a number of destination management organisations are currently facing cash flow issues and loss of commercial income.
This funding will ensure that destination management organisations can continue to provide critical business support and start to prepare for recovery.
Under the scheme, they will be able to receive up to £2,500 per month for two members of non-furloughed staff who provide crucial business support services and up to £5,000 to cover operating costs.
VisitEngland chief executive, Patricia Yates, said: “Tourism has been one of the earliest and hardest hit of all economic sectors and this fund will help to ensure destination management organisations can continue to provide crucial support and expert guidance to the hundreds of thousands of small-to-medium sized businesses that make-up England’s tourism sector.
“Our intention is to get the funds out quickly to destination management organisations with a light touch application process as we work with them in recovery planning, to ensure that tourism rebounds and once again becomes one of the most successful and vibrant sectors of the economy.”
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