Partners from across the South East are today announcing the launch of a brand-new support programme to aid the recovery of the South East’s visitor economy, which directly responds to the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the region.
The Revi-VE – South East Visitor Economy Fund is a 100% grant fund which sits as part of a wider package of support and is funded by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) in order to help deliver long-term resilience and adaptation to a post-Covid world for the visitor economy.
This new programme is being delivered by a consortium of partners that represent the tourism and hospitality industry across the region and comprises of colleagues from Visit Kent, Visit Essex, East Sussex County Council, Sussex Modern, and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
The Visitor Economy is a considerable engine of growth for the SELEP region, worth over £8.6bn, supporting more than 177,000 jobs as of 2015. Visit Britain’s forecast for 2020 predicted a 64% decline in domestic leisure day trips within the UK and a 73% decline in international visits when compared to 2019, contributing to a significant impact on the country’s tourism and hospitality sector as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The programme will provide funding of between £1,000 and £3,000 per project, for a minimum of 150 businesses across the SELEP region and will crucially inject small visitor economy businesses with the financial investment they need in order to respond to changed conditions across the marketplace.
The funding grants – which cover 100% of the costs and require no match funding from businesses – will focus on driving innovation and helping organisations to adapt or diversify their model to meet new trends and consumer behaviours in a post-Covid world.
Examples of the types of projects that would be considered for this funding include – but are not limited to – changes in operations in order to continue functioning in some capacity during restrictions (e.g., online booking software or online, virtual experiences), adaptations to increase visitor capacity (e.g., investment in outdoor spaces) or adaptations to improve consumer confidence (e.g., equipment needed to deliver an exciting new visitor experience).
Applications will open from 9am on 15th July 2021 running until 11:59pm on 18th July 2021 and businesses are encouraged to start looking at the funding criteria and preparing applications from now, in order to ensure that this fund is the right fit for them.
South East LEP Chair, Christian Brodie said:
“We must get behind our visitor economy organisations and businesses – that is why we are really excited to launch this fund today, at South East LEP we understand the value the visitor economy plays for our area, not just in terms of jobs and employment but the undeniable value that this sector brings to our communities, and our well-being.
“This fund is launching at just the right time as other monies begin to wind down and in the last push ready for reopening. We know there is so much resilience and innovation in this industry and we want to do all that we can to support those who need it most.”
With its core focus on the tourism and hospitality industry, Revi-VE is one of three flagship packages launching in order to support micro, small, and medium businesses (under 250 employees) within this region. Two further packages, which focus on start-ups (the Starting and Succeeding in Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund) and digitalbusinesses (the Adapting with Digital COVID-19 Recovery Fund) will also be launching this month.
For more information on the Revi-VE – South East Visitor Economy Fund and to find out whether your business is eligible, please visit: https://southeastbusiness.org.uk/revive/.