The government has announced a new £10 million Kickstarting Tourism Package designed to help local communities that depend on tourism get ready for the summer, part of a nationwide drive to boost economic recovery.
Small businesses in tourist destinations will be able to take advantage of grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their operations in response to the pandemic. This funding can be used to pay for specialist professional advice, to adopt new technology, to purchase new equipment and so on.
The government will provide 100 per cent of the money, with no obligation for businesses to make financial contributions. Many parts of the country have seen a significant drop in tourist and visitor numbers over the last few months and this initiative has been designed to help make sure that tourist hotspots are open for business over the summer.
Delivery of over £50 million will also be accelerated, set aside for shovel-ready infrastructure projects over the next couple of months to help give tourism a boost.
Nigel Huddleston said: “Our tourism sector is hugely important - creating jobs, supporting businesses and driving local economies in villages, towns and cities across the country. It is vital that we help the sector bounce back and give it the platform to recover when it reopens from tomorrow.
“This fund will help many small businesses in tourism destinations and with the infrastructure investment brought forward will provide a further boost for jobs and growth.”
The new round of investment builds on the success of the government’s £32 million in funding for tourism-boosting projects around the country that are already providing local benefits. These projects include £4.2 million to help the Lake District hit its low carbon emissions and £1 million in Cornwall to support coastal improvements.
Figures show that the UK’s domestic tourism industry - which reopened its doors on July 4th - will see domestic trips fall by 22 per cent this year, down from the 122.2 million seen in 2019 to 95 million in 2020.
GlobalData analysis shows the real impact of coronavirus on the sector, with travel and tourism analyst Ralph Hollister explaining that a surge in interest and a rise in bookings is expected but it will be interesting to see if the recovery is V shaped or if these bookings will level out after the initial spike.
Hikes in local infections - such as those being seen now in Leicester - could prolong the industry’s recovery, especially when coupled with lingering fears about contracting the virus.
Tourism businesses may well want to start researching different safety accreditation schemes so that they can help instil public confidence that they’ve done all they can to implement appropriate health and safety measures.
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