Destination Management Organisation Emergency Financial Assistance Fund

The Destination Management Organisation Emergency Financial Assistance Fund is designed to help alleviate the serious financial pressures faced by eligible Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) in England, caused by the collapse in commercial income revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic when the hospitality and tourism industries shut down. 

The Fund will provide emergency financial assistance to those that are now at acute risk of closure, enabling them to maintain their operations during the next six months.  This will be a crucial period for tourism recovery to build momentum and financial sustainability into 2021.

The Fund will cover the period from 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021 and the total funding pot available is up to £1 million. DMOs that meet the eligibility criteria can apply for individual grant awards up to a maximum of £97,600. A limited number of awards will be made and successful applicants will need to demonstrate clearly an immediate funding problem and that all other options have been exhausted.

The Fund will provide much needed assistance for core staffing and operational costs to ensure at risk DMOs continue to be supported during the pandemic and that core functions can be maintained while a plan for business recovery is developed and implemented.

To apply DMOs in England must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Be legally incorporated as either a company limited by shares or guarantee or a community interest company.
  2. More than 50% of forecast pre-COVID-19 total operating costs were to be funded by commercial income over the course of the 2020/21 financial year.
  3. The receipt of this commercial income continues to be challenging to secure from business membership fees and partnership marketing activities due to the depressed levels of tourism economic activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  By extension, this collapse in commercial income means that your DMO is facing imminent risk of closure by 31 December 2020. This will need to be clearly evidenced.
  4. Your DMO does not have significant and pre-existing financial resilience issues, including high levels of structural debt, pre-dating the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Your DMO complies with the COVID-19 State Aid Temporary Framework for UK Authorities. If your DMO has received in total more than €800,000 in aid under the Temporary Framework, then you cannot claim any further financial assistance by applying to this Fund.

The following types of companies and organisations cannot apply:

  • DMOs with any of the following incorporations:
    • Local authority tourism services departments
    • Limited company limited by either shares or guarantee directly controlled by a sponsoring local authority
    • Legally unincorporated organisations
  • Online travel agents
  • Travel agents
  • Tour operators
  • Industry bodies
  • Membership organisations representing solely a sectional interest-group within the tourism and hospitality industries e.g. hotelier associations, attractions groupings

Please read the full guidance document for further information, including criteria on how applications will be prioritised.

If you meet all of the eligibility criteria, please email us to register your interest and you will then be sent the application form. Your completed application form, along with the required supporting evidence, should be submitted no later than Thursday 1 October 2020. Decisions will be made and applicants notified by the end of October 2020.