Round 2: Destination Management Organisations’ (DMO) emergency financial assistance fund

Round 2 of the Destination Management Organisations’ (DMO) Emergency Financial Assistance Fund was designed to help alleviate the serious financial pressures faced by eligible DMOs in England, caused by the collapse in commercial income revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic. This round supported DMOs in the period 1 January to 31 March 2021.

The Fund provided emergency financial assistance to those that are at acute risk of closure by 31 March 2021, enabling them to maintain their operations during the three month period from January to March. This was a crucial period for tourism recovery to build momentum and financial sustainability in 2021.

The total funding pot available was up to £415,000. DMOs that meet the eligibility criteria can apply for individual grant awards up to a maximum of £53,800. A limited number of awards were made and successful applicants needed to clearly demonstrate a funding problem in the final quarter of the year and that all other options have been exhausted.

The Fund ensured at risk DMOs continued to be supported during the pandemic and that core functions could be maintained while a plan for business recovery is developed and implemented.

To apply DMOs in England must have met 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 raised from the private sector 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 acute risk of closure by 31 March 2021. 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

The full guidance document (PDF, 274KB) included further information, including criteria on how applications will be prioritised.

Applications for round 2 are now closed.


Round 1 

Round 1 of the DMO Emergency Financial Assistance Fund has now closed. £619,000 was awarded (out of a total pot of £1m) to DMOs at acute risk of closure by 31 December 2020. The Funding will provide essential support to core operations between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021. It will also support the development of transformation and sustainability plans to drive ongoing viability beyond the funding period.