Introducing the Visitor Economy Support Programme (VESP)
Somerset County Council, Visit Exmoor, Visit Somerset and Tomorrow’s Tourism are working together to enable FREE business support.
The Visitor Economy Support Programme (VESP) is a programme funded by an allocation of £500,000 from the Somerset Business Rates Retention Pilot programme (BRRP). The BRRP is funding to deliver economic growth and prosperity and is managed by all local authorities in Somerset via the Somerset Growth Board (which provides strategic oversight of joint economic development priorities).
The VESP scheme will fund FREE support services to visitor businesses, this will focus around the impact of Covid, business resilience and growth. This includes support with marketing communications including digital advice, and as part of this programme, the VESP scheme will be compiling sector specific research across visitor markets, that will provide valuable insight for Somerset businesses, assisting with forward planning and growth.
VESP aims to provide guidance and support to SME’s (0-249 employees) in the sectors of accommodation, retail, high street, food & drink, creative industries, heritage, visitor attractions, activity providers and outside visitor spaces.
To sign up to receive this business support please register on the Visit Exmoor/Visit Somerset link here: www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/trade/vesp-somerset-business-support
Max Lawrence, of Visit Exmoor, commented, “We are really pleased to be part of this important initiative. The Covid pandemic has had an enormous impact on our Exmoor tourism businesses, we are really keen to reach out to as many businesses as possible to ensure they benefit from this valuable free support.”
Giles Adams, of Visit Somerset, commented, “We want our portfolio of brilliant Somerset tourism enterprises to return to top business health as soon as possible and this free support scheme will accelerate that process.”
Carl Benneyworth VESP Commissioning Manager, said: “Tourism plays a significant role in Somerset’s economy, and I am excited to see The Visitor Economy Support Programme launched today. The free support available for Somerset’s visitor businesses will make a real difference as they seek to recover quickly and safely.”
Under the VESP scheme, Tomorrows Tourism are fielding a team of industry experts, with a range of specialist skill sets, that will be matched with businesses, identifying business goals, opportunities and challenges. A dedicated advisor will then work with each business to create a bespoke package of support to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.