Support for tourism and event businesses during COVID-19

4 March 2021

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and are working hard to provide you with the very latest information, advice and support for your business at this very challenging time. We are feeding in industry concerns to Government via the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group. Below you will find the latest information on the coronavirus support available for your business. All of our information is kept under continuous review and is updated often.

Please see our operating during COVID-19 page for the latest guidance on business closures during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Government support

A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Read a summary of existing financial support measures on


Update 4 March:


On 4 March the Chancellor announced the budget. Key highlights for the tourism and hospitality industry include:


  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extended until 30 September 2021
  • Fourth and fifth grants confirmed for the UK Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • Restart Grants up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses
  • Additional £425 million discretionary business grant funding for local authorities.
  • Extension of the temporary 5% VAT rate until 30 September 2021
  • Business rates relief for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties
  • New Recovery Loan Scheme
  • Continuation of the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme
  • VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme
  • Extended loss carry back for businesses
  • £300 million to extend the Culture Recovery Fund
  • £90 million for continued support for Government-sponsored National Museums and cultural bodies in England.
  • £300 million for continued support to major spectator sports in England, supporting clubs and governing bodies.
  • Duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits will be frozen for another year
  • Zoo Animals Fund extended until 30 June 2021


Read more information on the announcements in the budget that affect tourism businesses.


Update 8 February:


Flexible repayment options announced for Bounce Back Loan borrowers: The Chancellor has announced repayment flexibilities for Bounce Back Loan borrowers, with the ability to tailor payments according to individual circumstances. The scheme provides the option for small and medium-sized businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. Read more on Bounce Back loans.


Guidance on funding for employers looking to create jobs placements for young people: Guidance has been published on the Kickstart Scheme, which provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Read more on the Kickstart Scheme.


Applications for Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs extended: The deadline for applications for the Christmas Support Payment (CSP) for wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions has been extended to 28 February 2021. Read more on the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs.


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) update: Details about the fourth SEISS grant will be announced on 3 March 2021. The deadline for making a claim for the third grant has now passed. Read more about the SEISS grant.


New 5 January:

On 5 January the Chancellor announced:

  • businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000
  • a £594 million discretionary fund will also be made available to support other impacted businesses
  • Read the 5 January statement.


Guidance for local authorities on the business support package for the January 2021 lockdown has now been published.


New 17 December:

On 17 December the Chancellor announced the furlough scheme would be extended until the end of April 2021. Loan schemes, including Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes, will also be extended until end of March 2021. Read the 17 December statement.


New 9 December:

The Communities Secretary announced that business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021. Read the 9 December statement.


New 1 December:

The Prime Minister announced that wet-led pubs will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 in December. Read the Prime Minister's 1 December statement.


Read the guidance on wet-led pub payments for local authorities. The guidance defines a wet-led pub as a pub that derives less than 50% of its income from sales of food.


New 20 November:

The Government announced that businesses will be allowed to opt into a new VAT Deferral scheme next year, allowing any deferred VAT to be paid in up to 11 installments over the course of the year so that the total deferred VAT is paid by March 2022. The online opt in process will be available in early 2021. Read guidance on the new VAT deferral scheme.


New 11 November:

  • The Government announced an extension to temporary freedom for pubs, restaurants and cafes to provide food takeaways by another year; freedoms enabling outdoor markets have also been extended
  • New protections have been put into place for cultural venues, by protecting theatres, concert halls and live music venues from demolition. 

Read the 11 November announcement.


New 5 November:

The Chancellor announced the following further support measures on 5 November:

  • the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked
  • support through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be increased, with the third grant covering November to January calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500
  • Cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed
  • The ability for businesses to top-up Bounce Back Loans

Read the Government press release from 5 November.


New 31 October:

The Prime Minister announced that the furlough scheme has been extended and further economic support will be available:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - also known as the Furlough scheme - will remain open until 2 December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.
  • The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.
  • More generous support to the self-employed and paying that support more quickly
  • Cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed
  • £1.1 billion for councils to enable them to support businesses more broadly over the coming months, as a key part of the local economy
  • Plans to extend existing Loan Schemes and Future Fund to the end of January and an ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans

Read the statement from 31 October


New 22 October:

The Chancellor announced that the Government will significantly increase the generosity and reach of its winter support schemes, including:

  • open businesses which are experiencing considerable difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on as government significantly increases contribution to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, and business contributions drop to 5%
  • additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas, delivered by Local Authorities. Check if you're eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant.
  • grants for the self-employed doubled to 40% of previous earnings

Read the Chancellor's statement from 22 October.


New 9 October:

New 2 October: businesses in Bolton to receive grants of up to £1,500

New 24 September - Winter Economy Plan: The following measures were announced by the Chancellor on 24 September:

Other rules have also been relaxed, including regarding destroying spoilt beer and pub/restaurant takeaway operations.

Please note all grants made under the above schemes are subject to tax should the business make a profit during the current financial year.

Government funding

  • (c) VisitBritain/Sam Barker

    Find COVID-19 financial support

    The Government's support finder tool can help you determine what financial support is available to you during COVID-19.

  • Summary of Existing Financial Support

    A summary of all the support that is available during COVID-19.

  • Government support –

    Detailed information of financial support in response to COVID-19 and how to claim.

  • Closed Businesses Lockdown Payments (CBLP)

    Check if you're eligible for the CBLP, which supports businesses required to close due to the national restrictions beginning 5 January 2021.

  • Grants during national restrictions

    Check if your business is eligible for a grant due to national restrictions, for businesses that have been required to close.

  • Local restriction grants: closed businesses

    Check if you're eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant, for businesses that have to close under local restrictions.

  • Local restriction grants: open businesses

    Check if you're eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant, for businesses that have been impacted by local restrictions.

  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

    Check if you are eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, for people who are self-employed or a member of a partnership.

  • Additional Restrictions Grant

    Check if you're eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant, which supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes.

  • Recovery Loan Scheme

    From 6 April 2021 businesses can access loans and other finance up to £10 million per business.

  • Information for rural businesses

    The latest information from the Rural Payments Agency for farmers, landowners and rural businesses during COVID-19.

  • Paying VAT deferred due to COVID-19

    How to pay VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020.

  • More guidance for employers

  • Government guidance for employers

    Guidance on workplace arrangements and managing staff, including what to do if your employees need to self-isolate and limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

  • Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay

    How to reclaim statutory sick pay during COVID-19.

  • Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant

    If you are looking to create 29 or fewer job placements for young people, you can now apply for funding.

  • Guidance on choosing a Kickstart gateway

    The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion scheme to help employers create 6-month job placements for 16 – 24 year olds.

  • Tips for a successful Kickstart application

    Official Government tips for a successful Kickstart Scheme application.

  • Changes to right to work checks

    Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out.

  • PAYE notification for furloughed workers

    How and when to report payments made to employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

  • Advice from ACAS

    Guidance on handling employees, including sick pay, managing staff shortfalls, if somebody becomes unwell at work and what to do if you need to close.

  • Relaxation of annual leave carry over rules

    Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 can carry it over into the next 2 leave years.

  • Taxable equipment for employees

    HMRC guidance on what equipment, services and suppliers are taxable for employees working from home.

  • Support for apprenticeships

    The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is taking steps to ensure apprenticeships can continue and support providers.

  • Support webinars

    Watch recorded videos and register for free webinars from Government and HMRC designed for employers.

  • Guidance on workplace pensions

    The Pensions Regulator has issued advice on workplace pensions for employers and trustees during COVID-19.

  • Guidance on mental health and wellbeing

    Advice on how you and your staff can look after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19.

  • Worker eligibility for Child Support

    Government has extended eligibility for free or tax-free childcare for parents if they fall below the minimum income requirement due to COVID-19.

  • Expenses and benefits during COVID-19

    HMRC guidance on the treatment of taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of COVID-19.

  • Guidance on holiday pay and entitlement

    Government advice on how holiday entitlement and pay operate during COVID-19, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance.

  • How to monitor staff wellbeing

    Guidance from Be the Business on ensuring the well-being of staff who are working remotely.

  • Employer help from Jobcentre Plus

    A range of advice to overcome staff challenges during COVID-19, from redundancies to supporting your staff and recruitment.

  • Further support

  • Support webinars from Government

    Webinars are available on accessing financial support, understanding the support schemes available and managing your business.

  • COVID-19 business support blog

    The Government's business support blog contains information, case studies and posts from people across Government and business.

  • Guidance on refunds

    The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) have issued guidance on refunds during COVID-19.

  • HMRC’s Digital Assistant

    HMRC’s Digital Assistant can answer questions on COVID-19 support schemes for businesses and the self-employed.

  • FAQs

    Answers to common questions from Be the Business, including financing, employees, tax and going back to work.

  • Guidance from FSB

    The Federation of Small Businesses provides advice on reducing the impact of COVID-19, including free webinars and FAQs.

  • Guidance from Be the Business

    Information on managing COVID-19 specifically for business owners and leaders, including how other businesses are responding and how-to guides.

  • Guidance from Enterprise Nation

    The Coronavirus Small Business Support Hub contains update on small business funding and can connect you with people and resources to keep trading.

  • Tips on securing finance

    Guidance on how to prepare a loan or grant application from the South West Business Council.

  • Insights from Google

    Google’s dedicated resource platform has tools, insights and advice to help businesses respond to COVID-19.

  • Non-Government support for businesses

    Public bodies, organisations and charities have produced additional resources that may be useful to employers and employees.

  • Preventing fraud and cyber crime

    Read Government guidance on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cyber crime.

  • Restructuring advice

    Guidance from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure on managing security risks during a restructure, including personal data.

  • Recovery Advice for Business scheme

    Small businesses can access free, one-to-one advice to get them through the pandemic and prepare for long-term recovery.

  • Support from your bank

    Your bank may be able to offer support measures if your finances have been impacted.

    Have a discussion with your bank as early as possible to produce a mutually beneficial action plan.

    The following banks also have dedicated helplines for business customers affected by COVID-19:

    • Barclays: 0800 1971 086
    • Santander: 0800 0156 382


    Summary of actions to take


    • Contact your insurance company to check if you can make a claim for lost business and/or closure
    • Contact your bank to see what support measures they can offer
    • Contact your suppliers and work together to mitigate fall in demand
    • Contact customers who have already booked with you directly
    • Keep staff informed of the latest and plan contingency measures where possible
    • Update your website and share messages through social media
    • Liaise with your Destination Management Organisation (DMO) / tourism association (please be aware the ability to respond at this time may vary between DMOs, depending on resource)

    Next steps

    • Check official Government advice on a regular basis
    • Continue communicating with customers
    • Consider having a more flexible booking policy for future customers looking to book trips later in the year.