In many cities around the world, the streets remain quiet, the shops are empty and the doors to attractions and museums are closed. It’s an uncertain time for the travel and tourism industry, but there are numerous ways to keep your customers engaged and many signs that those same customers miss you just as much as you miss them.
Until we can all get back to exploring our cities, governments and organizations across the globe are rallying to help businesses, including tourism attractions, museums, and historical sites. Tourism funding options are available, you just need to know where to look for them.
How to find out if your government offers COVID-19-related tourism funding
If your business activities have been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, there’s a good chance that you’re eligible for government grants to help you and your employees through this period. Many governments are supporting businesses and employees with loans, grants, wage subsidies, and even help with cleaning costs.
Here are three tips to find out if your government offers tourism grants and whether you’re eligible for one:
1. Start off by visiting your government’s official website. You want to make sure that any information you find is legitimate.
2. Look for funding options for businesses. Some governments are differentiating between the tourism industry and other businesses, but many have created funding schemes that are open to any and all businesses affected by COVID-19 – including tourism businesses.
3. To benefit from support from your government, you will likely have to apply for it and you will likely need to meet certain criteria to be considered eligible. Before you make any major decisions regarding your business, for example laying off staff, check what the criteria are to apply for funding.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the countries offering financial aid in the form of loans, government grants and employee allowances to local businesses.*
Tourism funding options by country
The Australian Government is supporting Australian businesses with government grants to manage cash flow challenges and help retain employees. Their support includes cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses.
The Canadian government is offering support for businesses and employees by giving access to credit through commercial rent assistance and with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
The Danish government and the Danish Parliament have unanimously passed several Relief Packages for all businesses in Denmark with a CVR number – the packages are also available to fully foreign-owned companies.
The French government has guaranteed funds and loans to businesses. The government has also created a distribution and marketing platform for businesses and is offering unemployment extensions.
The German government is offering various forms of financial aid as part of the coronavirus protective shield. This covers freelancers, those who are self-employed, and companies of all sizes and their employees.
Employers who have had to suspend business activities, or have been significantly affected by COVID-19 are entitled to financial support from the Greek government. They are also offering compensation for special purposes, such as freelance scientists.
The government of Iceland has increased support for companies and extended part-time unemployment benefits. Companies that have suffered a substantial loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak can apply for government grants.
The country has introduced, among other measures, support allowances for workers whose activities are affected by the spread of COVID-19.
The Mexican government has put in place employment-related measures and economic stimulus measures to help businesses get through the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Dutch government has pledged to financially support companies of all sizes that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Companies can apply for a government grant to avoid redundancies and bankruptcy.
The New Zealand government has set up a wage subsidy and a leave-support fund in the wake of the pandemic. There is also a business finance guarantee scheme in place.
The government has put forward a range of financial measures to address the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, including compensation for unavoidable business expenses, grants for young, growing companies, plus an interest payment support fund and an extended unemployment benefit period for people who have been laid off.
In Portugal, tourism funding, including funding for individual entrepreneurs, is being offered. Companies and businesses outside of the tourism industry can also apply for funding.
The Singaporean Tourism Board (STB) has promised to assist businesses in a number of ways including by “waiving license fees for hotels, travel agents, and tourist guides, and defraying enhanced cleaning costs of hotels that provided accommodation to confirmed and suspected cases of nCoV infections”.
The Spanish government has created two packages to minimize the economic impact caused by COVID-19 and to foster a quick recovery. The package includes the flexibility of tax payment and certain loans.
The Cabinet of Thailand has also approved measures to help companies, especially SMEs, to get through the COVID-19 crisis.
The government has launched a 10 billion AED program that will target economic support for the country.
The UK government is offering, among other things, tourism funding (including for retail, hospitality, and leisure), small business grant funding, bounce back loans, and a coronavirus job retention scheme.
The US is offering small business administration loans, economic relief packages, and tourism funding – including grants for airports.
* If your country isn’t listed, this doesn’t necessarily mean your government does not offer support. Always look on your government’s website for the most up-to-date information on tourism funding.