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Re-Building Confidence and Demand in the Visitor Economy


Covid-19 has heavily impacted the visitor economy, with a huge dropped forecast compared to 2019. Therefore, targeted support is needed to help businesses survive the winter, protect jobs and support a sustained recovery. This requires support over and above business as usual as the market will be competitive with destinations from across the country targeting the same pool of visitors to aid recovery in their areas. The emerging economy recovery plans across the SELEP region all identify that visitor economy as a sector mostly badly effected by Covid-19.

To address this, partners from Kent, Essex and East Sussex are proposing a significant programme to aid the recovery of the SELEP visitor economy.

The project seeks to address key opportunities and challenges, including:

  • Raising destination awareness and supporting sustainable tourism management through visitor dispersal
  • Support consumer confidence in travelling by public transport
  • Using key themes to showcase the diverse and high-quality tourism offer to key domestic markets and increase length of stay
  • Protect businesses and safeguard jobs by extending the season
  • Product development and business support to address seasonality

Build positive engagement and confidence among SELEP residents

Sector Support Fund

The Sector Support Fund (SSF) is a £500,000 per year pot to support one-off, discrete pieces of work of a pan-LEP nature with a sector focus that brings demonstrable benefit and has support across the LEP. At the June 2020 meeting a further £1 million was allocated to the SSF programme and it was extended until 31 March 2022 or when the fund is exhausted, whichever is sooner, The criteria was extended to ensure projects act to support the Covid-19 economic recovery and /or support the economy through the EU transition process.


It uses Growing Places Fund (GPF) Revenue grant to fund a programme of works to support the sector focussed activities that are being undertaken on a pan-LEP basis and predominantly led by the SELEP working groups. When the Growing Places Fund (GPF) grant was originally awarded, a proportion of the fund was earmarked as revenue which is being used for the Sector Support Fund.​

Funding value: £200,000
Total Project cost: £356,835
Return to Sector Support Fund