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DCMS launches scheme for DMOs to claim up to £5,000

Destination Management Organisations at risk of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic will receive financial support thanks to a new £1.3m scheme launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The funding, which is available to any at-risk DMO in England which usually receives at least 50% of its income from commercial sources, will be used to cover operating costs and 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 that while it is important that everyone plays their part and stays at home to protect the NHS and save lives, it was crucial to help the tourism sector. 

He said: “We need to act now to help the tourism sector be as strong as possible when we get through this pandemic. Destination Management Organisations will play a vital role in this recovery and this fund will support their essential work. 

“DMOs provide expert advice and guidance to local businesses and are a crucial part of developing and promoting English tourism. As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, a number of DMOs are currently facing cash flow issues and loss of commercial income. This funding will ensure that DMOs can continue to provide critical business support and start to prepare for recovery.” 

Minister Huddleston said that under the scheme, DMOs 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’s acting CEO Patricia Yates added that tourism has been one of the earliest and hardest hit of all economic sectors. She said: “This fund will help to ensure DMOs 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 DMOs 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.”