With the aftereffects of the pandemic still in play, the notion of grants is nothing new across the sector. The accessibility of grants has, however, never been more important than during the last few years. Travel, hospitality and leisure businesses have had to survive during a tough economic climate.
The travel, hospitality and leisure sector is a very prominent one within the UK economy, in 2019 alone, tourism contributed £74.5bn to the UK economy, representing c.4% of the UK’s total gross value added. The sector also indirectly employed c.4 million people. (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates. February 2021).
Not only that but the UK is attractive to tourists because it has something to offer everyone. According to Visit Britain, inbound consumers say that Britain’s cultural attractions are the top motivation for visiting, followed by the variety of places on offer and the fact that it is somewhere new.
Impact of COVID
During the COVID pandemic, the most popular and easily accessible grants and schemes for the travel, leisure and hospitality industry were the Recovery Loan Scheme (now extended until April 2023) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) alongside these, there are a few more that have been available to access for the industry. Based on Beauhurst data, there have been 45 grants available from Q2 2017 to Q1 2022, totalling over £8.5m in grants claimed.
Sub-sectors within travel, hospitality and leisure that accessed the most grants include: business travel, travel tech, train operators, cruise and ferry operators (marine services). One of the binding elements for most travel businesses that accessed these grants was innovation. This innovation has been translated into technology, accessibility and ways of change that would improve the travel experience of the end consumer, be it by the use of technology, ways of travelling (sustainability, slow travel), or accessibility friendly.
Grants available for travel, hospitality and leisure in 2023
If you’re just starting up and you need some financial help, you can always look up funding available for start-ups, these mostly come in the form of loans from banks such as British Business Bank that offers start-up loans to start or grow your business. You can borrow up to £25k with a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum (per year) and with a repayment term of 1-5 years.
Business Rates Relief 23/24
In the Autumn Statement of 20222, the Chancellor announced the new business rates relief scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure properties and the aim of this scheme is to support businesses that make the high street and town centres a success and help them evolve. Within the list of eligible establishments, travel agents, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, live music venues, tourist attractions, hotel and guest houses are named too.
Business Rates Relief: 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Help to Grow: Digital
Help to Grow: Digital is a programme where you can access free online support on how technology can help your business grow and improve its performance. If your business is eligible, you can also access up to 50% discount towards buying approved software, up to £5000.
Please note that this programme will end on 2 February 2023, however, Help to Grow: Management will remain in place. This is a 12-week management course designed to fit alongside work commitments and is 90% funded by the government.
Innovate UK EDGE
Innovate UK EDGE encompasses expert advice, tailored to your business with the aim to help it grow and succeed in international markets.
Accessing this means that you can get funded and gain support in the form of: exploiting innovation, intellectual property and connections in the UK and abroad, entering new markets at home and abroad, accessing funding and getting investment ready.
This is aimed at companies with a maximum of 500 employees (250 in Northern Ireland).
More information here Innovate UK EDGE – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Tourism Recovery Plan
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has put together the Tourism Recovery Plan that covers areas such as Growth, Innovation & Resilience, Inclusivity and Next Steps. Although the plan was put together back in 2021, the document is worth reading as it can offer valuable insights into tourism statistics, a summary of the situation in the past few years and recovery plans, support in place and further actions, to name a few.
How our travel & tourism experts can support you
If you’d like support accessing funding or grants for your travel, hospitality or leisure business or you would just like a chat with our expert, friendly advisors, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can support you.