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New grant scheme in Somerset to support tourism industry

In the news

Somerset have set out to boost their tourism industry following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic over the last two years.

Grants of between £25,000 and £40,000 have been made available to small and medium businesses (up to 250 employees in size) in the hope that the grants are used to implement a project that encourages more visitors to the area.


What regions in Somerset will these grants apply to?

The grants are part of the Visitor Economy Support Programme (VESP), which is a partnership between Somerset’s Local Authorities. This includes Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West & Taunton Council, and South Somerset District Council. It does exclude Bath and North East Somerset so we do advise you check with your local council before applying to make sure you’re in an area where the grants are available to you.


What are the objectives set out by the councils exactly?

There are three key areas VESP are focusing on when offering the grants:

- Creating more shoulder season opportunities to extend the season

- Encouraging a demographic with a higher spend, so the higher end of the market

- Supporting new partnerships to create “packages” that will appeal to visitors


How does this apply to the holiday letting industry?

If you’re looking to develop more holiday lets or convert existing buildings into holiday properties, this could be worth looking into. With the primary objectives being to grow the tourism industry and extend the season, this may be a nice opportunity to see if their grant scheme can contribute to any potential developments. Particularly if you’re looking to engage with the higher end of the market.

If you’d like to speak someone about holiday letting in Somerset, we have a team based nearby and would be happy to talk to you and offer any advice, whatever stage of the holiday letting journey you’re at. Please contact us on 01326 555 500 or email the team on


What about glamping opportunities?

The same applies. With a variety of accommodation types under this umbrella, there are opportunities to explore what could work and drive more visitors to Somerset in the shoulder months as well as during the peak season. Again, the higher end of the market is something the councils are trying to encourage so this will be worth considering and looking at different glamping accommodation types.

Our Unique hideaways team focus on glamping accommodation and have a huge amount of industry knowledge. They also provide a Field to Finish service, so if you’re only at the early stages of planning they will be able to speak to you about the potential opportunities you can explore. To get the team’s advice, you can either email them at or call them on 01736 230140.


What is the closing date for applications?

You need to act quite quickly on this one! The deadline for applications to the Visitor Economy Innovation Grant is the 14th of March. We suggest you visit Somerset Visitor Economy Innovation Grant Scheme to find out more about the application process. 

We hope you are able to take this opportunity to help boost the tourism industry in the area. Thank you and best of luck with your application, should you choose to apply.



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