The Destination Management Company (DMC) and Inbound Tour Operator Amplification and Distribution Fund is open to eligible DMCs and inbound tour operators to apply for grant funding to develop and market tourism to Britain, working with international tour operators to dial-up promotion in their 2022 programmes, supporting the sector’s recovery.
Aims and objectives
The Fund addresses post-pandemic recovery and aims to enable eligible Britain-based DMCs and inbound tour operators to harness the latest VisitBritain consumer sentiment research to develop and market tourism to and around Britain encouraging international tour operators to add Britain to their programme in 2022.
In headline, VisitBritain is seeking DMCs and inbound tour operators who will be able to:
- Develop new Britain itineraries with a focus on extending the holiday season that taps into international source market demand.
- Have those new itineraries included in the 2022 consumer programmes of international tour operators in the target markets of France, Germany and The United States.
- Deliver marketing activity, involving third party media buy, to promote those new Britain itineraries to consumers in each of the markets stated above.
- Evidence value added through marketing via its own channels and, where applicable, those of international tour operators.
- Provide post-campaign evaluation results showing the actual value (monetary GBP equivalent) and volume (number) of consumer bookings made as a direct result of this activity bringing incremental visitors to Britain in 2022.
With a budget allocation of £300,000, the Fund is a competitive grant scheme will operate from early February to 24 June 2022. Applications are invited for potential grant awards of between £20,000 and £40,000 in one of the two categories relative to the 2019 financial turnover of sales of holiday packages to Britain.
Supported types of marketing activity
The Fund will support sales and marketing activities delivered through an in-market tour operator and include activities, such as:
- Media buy with a third party media owner.
- Creative content development undertaken by a third party (limited no more than 10% of the grant award).
- 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.
- PR or social media agency fees (limited to no more than 15% of the grant award).
- B2B2C communication activities through third party tour operators and travel agencies.
- Sales incentives to tour operators’ preferred sellers.
- Destination training.
- Production of new content, either digital or in print format, within tour operators’ programmes.
To apply, DMCs and inbound tour operators must meet the eligibility criteria. The full list of criteria is given in the application guidance notes but includes:
- Must be a Britain-based (England, Wales and Scotland) DMC or Inbound Tour Operator and be legally incorporated as a company limited by shares or guarantee.
- Must operate pan-Britain product itineraries in at least two (2) of the ‘home’ nations and must also demonstrate recent experience (namely, in 2017-19) of working in the chosen international markets, as evidenced by previous itineraries and sales to Britain, and previous marketing plans.
- Applicants must demonstrate that they can use the grant to secure the support of an in-market tour operator whose role it will be to promote actively in their outbound programmes Britain consumer leisure itineraries featuring two (2) or more of the ‘home’ nations and also at least two (2) cities.
- Itineraries involving MICE and business tourism activities will not be supported.
- The Applicant must have a demonstrable track record of working with the proposed partner tour operator(s). Your application will need to be accompanied by (a) letter(s) of commitment from the partner tour operator(s) to the proposed marketing activity, along with confirmation of the Britain-related value (GBP equivalent) of sales that the applicant has done with the partner tour operator before the COVID-19 pandemic in each of the financial years 2018 and 2019.
Who can apply?
The Fund is open to Britain-based DMCs and inbound tour operators. Applicants must have a permanent place of business in either England, Scotland or Wales (i.e. a registered office in either of these jurisdictions per Companies House).
For the sake of clarity, the following types of companies and organisations are not eligible for financial support and so cannot apply:
- Overseas-based tour operators
- Overseas-based travel agent consortia
- Destination management organisation
- Tourism business improvement districts (TBID)
- Online travel agents
- Sole traders
- Industry bodies
- Membership organisations representing solely a sectional interest group within the tourism and hospitality industries, such as hotelier associations and attraction groupings.
How to apply
Eligible applicants should complete an application form available to download and send it along with the supporting documentation to TourOperFund@visitbritian.org. Applications must be emailed to us and arrive no later than 11.59am on Thursday, 13 January 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.
Code of conduct for grant recipients
Grant making is an essential component in the tools available to VisitBritain to deliver our policy objectives. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to external organisations to assist us with the development of the British tourism industry, thereby supporting local economic development and helping UK tourism exports. This is why it is essential to ensure that grants are administered efficiently and effectively providing value for the UK tax-payer.
Prospective applicants are advised to familiarise themselves with the ‘Code of Conduct for Recipients of Government General Grants’ (Cabinet Office, November 2018) which sets out publicly the expectations placed on grant recipients, in terms of ethical and professional conduct.