Applications have opened for VisitBritain’s Domestic Support Fund, an initiative to kick-start the recovery of the UK business events industry.
The £100,000 (US$141,565) Domestic Support Fund is available for not-for-profit organisations and charities hosting meetings, conferences and events in the UK from 21 June to 17 December 2021. Events with from 100 to 500 delegates taking place in the UK are eligible to apply, with the fund open for bids from 9 June 2021. The financial support available is based on the number of delegates attending, with up to £15,000 available for each event.
Applicants have until November to apply with both hybrid and live events eligible.
UK Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “The importance of business events to regional economies across the UK cannot be understated and the sector will have a vital role to play as we build back better from the pandemic.
“I am pleased that the new Domestic Support Fund will help organisations to host meetings, conferences and events again safely and I am grateful to VisitBritain for all their work to boost our brilliant business events sector.”
VisitBritain and VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe added that the will support a number of UK events and promote the UK’s world-class venues and destinations at this important time in the sector’s recovery.
“We are committed to growing business events to the UK and this fund will provide timely and valuable support as the sector works towards reopening and recovery, as well as boosting regional economies,” she said.
The announcement of the Domestic Fund follows the reopening of the VisitBritain’s Business Events Growth Programme, which supports the development of the UK’s business events sector.
The Business Events Growth Programme support bids in attracting international events as well as the growth of events already secured. The programme has two funding strands: the ‘Bid Enhancement and Support’ strand – for UK cities bidding for international events; and the ‘International Delegate Growth’ strand, which supports existing business events to boost international delegate attendance and profile. In 2019/2020 the programme received 28 applications including 14 for international delegate growth and four for bid enhancement and support.
Organisations can also apply, on an ongoing basis, for support for UK Government advocacy in bidding for international events or growing the international profile of existing events. This includes letters of support and video messages from ministerial and senior officials.
To date, the Business Events Growth Programme, launched in 2016 as the Event Support Programme, has supported 53 events and has seen over £1m awarded.