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New grants to boost tourism in West Somerset and Sedgemoor

12 July 2021 : Business, Council news

The Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP) is offering grants to help fund business projects aimed at boosting tourism in the West Somerset and Sedgemoor area.

Led by Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT), the Tourism Innovation Grant Scheme has been set up by the HTAP partners in response to the impact on tourism from Covid.

The value of tourism towards Somerset’s economy is substantial. Prior to the pandemic, 23 million day trips and 2.6 million overnight stays helped generate £1.3bn each year, in turn providing employment for 10 per cent of the county’s total workforce.

Tourism is even more significant in West Somerset and Sedgemoor, accounting for 40 per cent of all staying visitor activity across the county.

The new grant scheme is specifically designed to support SMEs in offering a greater range of visitor products and experiences. Grants between £5,000 and £10,000 will be made available to businesses and organisations operating in the tourism, hospitality and events sector.

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals aligning with HTAP’s strategic aims by contributing towards industry growth and the local economy. Where possible, proposals should promote a ‘green’ visitor experience by being sustainable and less reliant on carbon.

The HTAP partners are also looking for creative and innovative experiences which are new to the area. Inspiration for projects can be sought from other regions or internationally, providing they suit the area's natural resources and have not been adopted previously.

Above all, they must create a lasting legacy by being inclusive, providing an exceptional welcome and creating positive perceptions for the greater area.

Qualifying projects may fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Higher-spend customer markets
  • Genuinely new service provision
  • Shoulder season visitor opportunities
  • New networks or partnerships that consolidate activity into a package that enhances the visitor experience

Applications for the Tourism Innovation Grant Scheme will open week commencing 12 July 2021 until 10 September 2021, or until all the funding has been allocated.

The scheme is open to applicants based in the Somerset West and Taunton and Sedgemoor district council areas. Applicants are required to match-fund a minimum 10 per cent of the awarded grant.

Any small business partnerships or networks looking to apply should visit SWT’s Hinkley tourism partnership webpage.

The HTAP was set up in 2013 to mitigate the impact on the local community from the development of two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C on the West Somerset coast.  The partnership provides various schemes and initiatives including housing, business support, skills and tourism.

The partner members include Somerset West and Taunton Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, EDF Energy, Visit Somerset, Visit Exmoor and Exmoor National Park Authority.

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