Tourism cooperation grants: Growth Programme

Businesses working in rural tourism can apply for Growth Programme grants to help them work together.

This guidance was withdrawn on

This page is an old page about grants which are now closed for applications.

For latest information about available grants, go to

Applies to England

These grants are to improve cooperation in the rural tourism sector so that destinations increase visitor numbers. New cooperation projects must be sustainable after grant funding stops.

Other grants, such as business development and tourism infrastructure grants, are also available for rural tourism projects. The call for applications will state which types of grant applicants can apply for.

Read about other Growth Programme grants which are available to rural businesses.

Who can apply

Applications must be for new cooperation projects in a rural area.

Applicants should represent the group of cooperating businesses. They can be:

  • a business (any size)
  • a social enterprise (any size)
  • a group (2 or more) of businesses (including social enterprises), and
  • organisations such as charities, trusts and public bodies, working with rural tourism businesses and social enterprises

Applicants need to be able to sign a legally binding contract in order to get a grant. Applicants will need to show they represent the group of cooperating business at full application.

Who can’t apply

Businesses wholly or partly supported by government funding

Businesses that are wholly or partly supported by government funding are eligible only if they can show that the project funding other than the grant is from private sources (for example, savings or a bank loan).

Applicants that have some public funding

If an applicant has already had public funding, they must declare this when they apply.

Applicants can call RPA to check whether they qualify for these grants on 03000 200 301 or by emailing

Eligible projects

The aim of these grants is to support projects which:

  • create and develop ‘destination’ and ‘place based’ plans for rural areas
  • promote and market rural visitor destinations
  • develop new Destination Organisations (including as part of a wider group or organisation)
  • support Destination Organisations (or where they don’t exist, other partnerships), in developing a destination plan

How much funding is available

The amount of a grant depends on the type of applicant but it will normally be above £35,000.

Each ‘call for applications’ will specify if there are minimum and maximum grant limits.

Non-profit making organisations can receive up to 100% of their eligible costs.

Organisations that make a profit from their activities can receive up to 50% of their eligible costs

Eligible costs

Grants can cover the costs of any the following:

  • co-ordination and organisation of the co-operation activity
  • preparation of destination or place based plans
  • marketing and promotion costs of delivery of the destination or placed based plan

The running costs of the new cooperation project are also eligible, as long as they only form part of the project being funded.

Ineligible costs

There are some costs which are not eligible for all types of grants.

Tourism cooperation grants will also not cover:

  • the operational costs of the organisations involved in the application
  • the costs of preparing destination or place based plans for urban areas
  • the costs of marketing and promotion of destination or place based plans for urban areas

How to apply

Read about how to apply for Growth Programme grants.

Contact RPA

Rural Payments helpline : 03000 200 301


Published 27 July 2015