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Council Services:

Rural Tourism

The kinds of tourism projects that are likely to attract funding will be those developing high quality visitor products and services that link tourism providers, extend the tourism season and encourage visitors to stay.

Who can apply:

  • New or existing micro or small businesses (this includes farm businesses diversifying into tourism activities);
  • A community group that wants to invest in small-scale infrastructure to support and develop tourism; (Small-scale infrastructure for tourism covers a range of physical investments, such as small buildings for tourist information centres, visitor centres, shelters and signage along trails, and interpretations boards. It will also cover related small IT infrastructure such as e-booking systems for tourist services)
  • A group of rural tourist businesses working together to develop groups of activity;
  • Local authorities and administrations;
  • Public-private partnerships;
  • Non-Governmental organisations (NGOs);
  • Organisations in charge of tourist and recreational development, for example a destination organisation (that is, an organisation whose role is to promote tourism in a particular location or area).

Examples of the type of activities that could be funded are set out below.  For detailed information about eligibility criteria, the amount of funding you can apply for and how to submit an application please refer to the Wash Fens Applicant Handbook.

What is eligible:

  • Developing high quality visitor products and services that encourage tourists to stay longer, link tourism providers together and extend the tourism season;
  • Developing quality accommodation where there are clearly defined wider benefits to the local tourism economy and where activities do not displace existing accommodation;
  • Supporting tourism activities/niche products linked to quality local food, culture, heritage and rural crafts/assets such as heritage events and festivals promoting local culture;
  • Supporting shops, catering services – restaurants and cafes where there are wider benefits to the local tourism economy;
  • Developing access infrastructure to help people connect to the natural environment such as paths and cycle-ways;
  • Supporting tourism information centres and associated visitor information;
  • Developing and associated marketing and signposting of culture, leisure, heritage, visitor activities or attractions;
  • Supporting events and festivals; and
  • Developing innovative technology that enhances collaboration between businesses and provides information to attract visitors.

Costs could include:

  • Construction, acquisition (including leasing) or improvement to immovable property;
  • General costs linked to facilitating investments such as architect, engineer, consultation fees, but these can’t add up to more than 15% of the project’s total eligible costs;
  • Marketing and promotion (excluding printing) where these are part of a larger project;
  • Capital costs involved in supporting events and festivals (for example equipment hire, marquee hire, marketing development costs);
  • Short term salaries associated with project development of events and festivals; and
  • Intangible investments including, acquisition or development of computer software and acquisition of patents, licences, copyrights, trademarks.

What isn’t covered:

In addition to the standard list of ineligible costs which can’t be claimed (see Applicant Handbook, Pages 5 and 6) the following costs are not eligible under Tourism:

  • Computers, software and printers used for the general running of the business such as processing orders and accounts;
  • Moveable fittings such as soft furnishing, beds, tables, chairs, curtains, television and audio equipment, crockery, cutlery, small kitchen equipment;
  • Tourism brown signs and motorway signage;
  • Landscaping – unless it is part of ‘making good’ for an application for a major attraction or accommodation expansion. In which case, only the landscaping contractor’s fees would be eligible excluding the costs of plants, seeds, turf or trees;
  • Projects to meet statutory requirements for disabled access, fire regulations or emergency exits, unless the costs of providing access, exit and complying with regulations forms part of the normal costs for a major expansion project; and
  • Salaries and office overheads of applicant staff employed to run events and festivals.

How to apply


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Last updated: 7 June 2016

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