Gateway Innovation Fund

The Gateway Innovation Fund aims to provide financial assistance by way of a cash grant to a UK-registered Destination Management Organisation (DMO), UK based tourism supplier or transport carrier in order to deliver international marketing activity for a specific inbound gateway or region.

Aims and Objectives

The Fund is a new pilot programme for UK-based operators with proven experience of working in international markets. Working in collaboration with local industry in the chosen gateway destination or region, prospective applicants will need to develop an international consumer marketing campaign (or activation) that showcases the very best of that region, to a buzz-seeker audience motivating them to travel in 2023.

In headline, VisitBritain is seeking applications from those who will be able to:

  • Promote and market your gateway/region experiences to an international consumer audience to drive incremental consideration to visit your destination in 2023.
  • Deliver a fully integrated consumer facing marketing campaign or activation to promote a gateway/region to consumers in one of the following GREAT markets. France, Germany, Spain, member-states of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) or The United States. 
  • The lead applicant must inspire and rally local industry to get involved, plan and deliver this campaign on behalf of the gateway destination or region;
  • Augment the gateway/region marketing campaign budget with additional funding made up of cash and marketing in kind to the value of 2:1 (for every £1 from the fund, you must provide £2 in value)
  • Provide post-campaign quantitative evaluation results from the executed marketing activities, in particular showing the actual value (monetary GBP equivalent) and volume (number) of consumer bookings generated from incremental visitors to the gateway destination or region in 2023.


The Fund is a competitive grant scheme and will operate from 1 November 2022 to 31 May 2023 with a total budget allocation of up to £750,000. We expect that successful applicants will deliver marketing activities during the key consumer booking period from January to May 2023.

Supported types of marketing activity

The Fund will support sales and marketing activities and include activities, such as:

  • Media buy with a third-party media owner (you will need access to a media agency).
  • Development and delivery of an event/s to have in-market.
  • Development and delivery of an influencer trip or activation from relevant market.
  • B2B2C communication activities through third party tour operators and travel agencies.
  • Other third-party marketing costs may be considered at the discretion of VisitBritain (i.e. third-party bespoke email development or targeted data purchase) but approval must be obtained prior to entering into spending commitments with the third party.

Who can apply? 

The Fund is open to the following types of businesses, defined as follows:

A destination management organisation (DMO) based in either England, Scotland or Wales. This category includes local authority tourism services departments.

UK based tourism supplier is any tourism business that offers services or experiences that are offered primarily to international leisure visitors in the destination, such as tourist accommodation providers, tour operators and experience providers.

A transport carrier whether an airline, a ferry company or a railway tunnel operator.

Applicants must have a permanent place of business in either England, Scotland or Wales (i.e. a registered office in either of these jurisdictions at Companies House).  Please note that the home offices of individual employees would not be considered valid business addresses and therefore would be ineligible to apply.

How to apply?

Eligible applicants should complete an application form and send it along with the supporting documentation to Applications must be emailed to us and arrive no later than 11.59hrs (UK time) 28 October 2022 in order to be considered for funding. Any applications received after this time will not be considered. Applications will not be assessed on a first come first served basis but rather against the eligibility and scoring assessment criteria.

Please note, all project stages must be delivered and completed by the final deadline. Activity must be completed by 31 May 2023.

  1. Must be a Britain-based DMO, UK based tourism supplier or transportation carrier.  Applicants must have a permanent place of business in Great Britain (i.e. registered office address with Companies House).  Please note that the home offices of individual employees would not be considered a valid business address in Britain. 


  1. Be legally incorporated as a company limited by shares or guarantee (unless the applicant is a local authority or public sector body).


  1. The eligible applicant must market/promote/sell the specified gateway/region and must demonstrate recent experience (namely, over the period from 2018 to 2021) of working in any overseas markets, as evidenced by previous marketing plans.  For clarity the market selection in your application can be a market you have not worked in before, but you must show you have experience in another international market.


  1. Applicants must demonstrate that they will be able to secure co-financing contributions from industry partners in order to increase the overall campaign budget as well as monetised marketing-in-kind contributions to reach the target audience.  The sought-after ratio is 2 (partners): 1 (VisitBritain).  To help explain the point, here is an example.  If VisitBritain were to provide a cash grant of £200,000, then the grant recipient (lead partner) would need to ‘match’ that amount with at least one-third in additional cash (i.e. £133,000) and two-thirds in the value of marketing in-kind contributions (i.e. (£267,000).


By marketing in kind we mean any channels you can access for ‘free’ that will reach the buzz-seeker audience. Examples of this might include advertising space on partner websites, emails to targeted databases, out of home advertising in key locations, access to partner media channels etc. You will be required to detail what the expected reach and value is. VisitBritain reserve the right to review this with a media agency to assess value.


  1. Additional weighting will be given to applicants who can exceed 2:1 ‘match’ ratio described above in Point 4.


  1. Must align to VisitBritain marketing strategy, including;
    1. Target buzzseeker audience
    2. Must align with the Great Britain destination brand story (modern, dynamic, diverse Britain) and use of GREAT logo
    3. Must feature product aligned to the priority themes in our storytelling framework

*Information on all of the above is available in the supporting documents


  1. The Applicant must be able to show that it has the available people resources to deliver the activity funded by the grant.  The grant cannot be used to fund staff salaries, contractors’ fees or business overheads.


  1. The Applicant must be able to show that it has the financial reserves to call upon and is not at risk of business failure and closure.


  1. The Applicant must have a demonstrable track record of working with the proposed partners. Your application will need to be accompanied by (a) letter(s) of commitment from the industry partners to the proposed marketing activity, along with confirmation of the matched value should your application be successful.


  1. Applicants must commit to working with the VisitBritain local teams in relevant markets in order to ensure that their actual marketing plans can complement the wider Britain marketing message in 2023.


  1. All applications must have a UK bank account in the name of the applicant which must be a corporate legal entity.  A bank account in the name of an individual will not be acceptable.


  1. Confirmation that the business was NOT in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019.  Please see the Subsidy Control section in this guidance document for further information about the legal basis on which this grant-funding is being offered.