COVID-19 destination management resilience scheme

07 May 2020

Please note that the Destination Management COVID-19 Resilience Scheme closed for applications on Thursday, 7 May 2020.

A £1.3 million scheme has been announced by the Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston MP, which will provide financial support to Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) that are at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This scheme has helped to ensure DMOs can continue to provide crucial support and expert guidance to the hundreds of thousands of small-to-medium sized businesses that make up England’s tourism sector.

Our intention was to get the funds out quickly to DMOs as we work together on recovery planning, to ensure that tourism rebounds and once again becomes one of the most successful and vibrant sectors of the economy.

The new Coronavirus (COVID-19) Destination Management Resilience Scheme was designed to help DMOs to continue to pay employees who have a critical role to play in communicating and engaging with tourism businesses during the current COVID-19 outbreak. It has also ensured local capacity to connect with VisitEngland’s Regional Taskforce, to share insights and work together on recovery planning.

What did the scheme cover?

DMOs were able to apply for support to cover the costs of up to two members of staff with an upper threshold of £2,500 per employee per month, plus employer on-costs restricted to National Insurance and pension contributions for a three-month period. This support was for up to three months

The scheme had to support frontline business engagement and communication posts (not marketing or other functions)

Up to £5,000 towards operating costs over this three month period

Furloughed Employees

  • If the employee/s the DMO wished to retain had already been furloughed, the DMO was able to bring them back utilising this Scheme. The DMO needed to rescind the employee/s and as part of the application process, VisitEngland required proof that the employee/s had been rescinded to HM Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and monies had been repaid accordingly.
  • This also applied to freelance contractors who may have applied to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

DMOs were eligible if they met the following criteria:

  • 50% or more of forecasted total operating costs were generated through commercial income for 2020/21
  • This commercial income was now at risk due to COVID-19
  • Strong and established routes to communicate and engage with tourism businesses were in place
  • Employees’ job responsibilities had to be undertaken in line with the prevailing Public Health England guidance. This meant that individuals had to be working remotely at home as DMO staff were not regarded as essential workers who needed to travel to work.