Visitor Economy Grants

Large Grant Pot

Grants ranging from £10,000 to £15,000 per business.

Status: CLOSED

The window for applications is now closed.

A new grant scheme to help to kick-start the industry.

The Visitor Economy Grant Scheme is returning to support Oxfordshire businesses.  

This major scheme is being led by OxLEP Business and aims to back the sector’s ongoing re-emergence from Covid-19 through a variety of positive interventions, with the scheme providing funds to eligible businesses, with grants ranging from £10,000 to £15,000 per business.

The visitor economy grant scheme is part of OxLEP’s Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme – a £1.64 million programme of activity assisting the recovery of Oxfordshire’s visitor economy.  

Funding for the scheme was secured by OxLEP via the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund. OxLEP are working in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council to facilitate the funding process of its Visitor Economy Renaissance programme, which includes this grant scheme. 

This is the second round of funding offered by OxLEP Business’ visitor economy grant scheme, following a successful first round completed in early-2023, that saw just over £660,000 directed into the sector across Oxfordshire companies.  

OxLEP Business is once again looking to reach out to as many businesses operating within Oxfordshire’s visitor economy who could benefit from the scheme, including those whose companies sit within tourism-related sub sectors – many of which are vital to a successful visitor economy. 

Further information on the Visitor Economy Grant Scheme.

Please note that the grant scheme application window is now closed.

Business were encouraged to apply between 16th and 30th August. Only the first £700,000 worth of applications were initially invited to apply. We continued to accept registrations up until the 30 August, which will now be held on a waiting list. However, people with a declared disability that affects the time it will take to complete the registration form had until 30 August to register.

Eligible pre-registered businesses will be invited to submit a full application from 30th August, with the deadline for applying set as 14th September 2023.

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How much was available?

As stated above, this is the second round of this grant scheme, following a successful first round completed in early-2023, that saw just over £660,000 directed into the sector across Oxfordshire companies. 

The visitor economy grant scheme’s first round of funding benefited companies from across Oxfordshire, with 28% of grants awarded to Oxford-based companies, 19% to Vale of White Horse-based organisations, 14% of grants to businesses based both within West Oxfordshire and Cherwell districts and a quarter of grants were awarded to South Oxfordshire-based tourism-focused businesses. 

How did the grant rounds work?

The first round of applications for this scheme operated as a competitive single stage application process. Details for applications relating the second round of funding will be announced in due course 

What were the eligibility criteria for the first round of funding?

Eligible grants were available for projects that deliver tangible outcomes. that allow a business to: 

  • Adapt, diversify, or innovate its visitor economy offering 
  • Enhance their higher spend customer offer 
  • Encourage visitors to areas not traditionally known as ‘hotspots’ (heavily visited) 
  • Encourage shoulder season/off peak visitor opportunities 
  • Encourage longer stays/overnight visitors 
  • Improve digital presence to grow market share and attract new customers 
  • Support the county’s aim to be known as a COVID safe destination 

All projects had to demonstrate how it would have a positive impact on the wider visitor economy and also highlighted how the organisation is continuing to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission in relation to increased visitor numbers, describing measures taken. 

Which industries/sectors were eligible during the first round of funding?

To be eligible to apply, businesses had to demonstrate that they are operating within the visitor economy, with a primary function in one of the following sectors: 


  • Passenger transport 
  • Water and land hotels, holiday centres and villages, youth hostels and other collective accommodation 
  • Recreational camping grounds 
  • Renting of cars and light motor vehicles 
  • Renting and leasing of passenger water transport equipment 
  • Travel agency and tour operator activities 
  • Activities of tourist guides 
  • Visitor attractions 


  • Cultural education 
  • Museums activities 
  • Operation of historical sites and buildings and similar visitor attractions 
  • Botanical and zoological gardens and nature reserves activities  


  • Performing arts and theatres 
  • Operation of arts facilities, galleries and studios 


  • Sports, recreation and well-being activities for visitors 
  • Amusement parks and theme parks and activity/recreation centres 


  • Letting and operating of conference and exhibition centres 
  • Activities of exhibition and gatherings – fair/festival organisers 
  • Activities of conference organisers 
  • Wedding venues 


  • Distilling, rectifying, and blending of spirits 
  • Manufacture of cider, beer, and wine 
  • Licensed restaurants 
  • Unlicensed restaurants and cafes 
  • Take-away food shops and mobile food stands 
  • Event catering activities 
  • Licensed clubs, public houses and bars 

Independent retail 

  • Independent retailers based in Oxfordshire tourist destinations 


Read our full guidance document for further details relating to the grant scheme.


Have any questions? See if we have answered them in our latest FAQ document.

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