OxLEP have today (16 August) reopened its Visitor Economy Grant Scheme, with significant grants available to eligible Oxfordshire-based businesses.
Launched following a special business webinar earlier today, OxLEP Business – who operate as the Growth Hub for Oxfordshire – are now looking to reach out to organisations operating within the county’s visitor economy, including those who sit within tourism-related sub sectors, many of which are vital to an overall, successful visitor economy.
Grants of between £10,000 and £15,000 per successful business are set to be available during this round of funding, with applications now open (as of 16 August).
Pre-registration is required for the scheme, which can be completed by businesses between 16 and 30 August.
Only the first £700,000 worth of applications will initially be invited to apply, though OxLEP Business will continue to accept registrations up until 30 August – those registrations will then be held on a waiting list.
OxLEP Business have though added that those with a declared disability, that affects the time it takes to complete the registration form, will have until 30 August to register. Eligible pre-registered businesses will be invited to submit a full application from 30 August, with the deadline for applying set as 14 September.
As a sector that generated around £2.5billion each year to the Oxfordshire economy pre-pandemic, this OxLEP programme aims to ensure the county can both retain and build its visitor economy market share.
The scheme’s reintroduction follows OxLEP Business announcing in February that a first round of the fund saw over £600,000 directed into Oxfordshire organisations who either operate in or support tourism and visitor experiences, with companies from right across the county benefiting from the last round of investment – part of a concerted programme of activity supporting the visitor economy.
The grant scheme is part of OxLEP’s £1.64million Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme, funding for which was secured by OxLEP via the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund.
OxLEP are working in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council to facilitate the funding process of the programme, which includes the Visitor Economy Grant Scheme.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP said – “We are delighted to be able to reintroduce this grant scheme to Oxfordshire businesses operating within our vital visitor economy. Pre-Covid 19, our visitor economy was worth around 10% of Oxfordshire’s overall GVA, with the county attracting around 30 million visitors per year, so it’s very important that we are able to provide further positive interventions to this critical sector.
“We therefore encourage those companies operating within our visitor economy, as well as those delivering services as part of the sector’s various supply chains and sub-sectors, to sign-up to our upcoming webinar to find out more on the scheme and understand what a grant could mean to their company.”
First round Visitor Economy Grant Scheme recipients from earlier in the year saw funding support several key areas, including supporting businesses to generate more effective digital activity to attract more visitors, backing upgrades to on-site facilities to create better guest experiences and accessibility, as well as helping companies to create greater spectator and community participation opportunities at visitor locations.
Nigel Tipple added: “Our grant scheme has already supported numerous different areas within tourism in Oxfordshire with all areas of the county benefitting from investment. This reflects and recognises that we have multiple locations in the county that rely on a successful visitor economy, and we would once again encourage interest from businesses across the county.”