Rural Tourism

We are excited by the untapped tourism potential of our area and invite projects which enhance and promote what we have to offer all year round; particularly along and around our trails and around the inspiring built and natural environment.

Successful projects will be those which develop high quality visitor products and services, support the creation of a strong identity and sense of place, linking tourism providers and offer opportunities to extend the visitor stay and increase spend.

The types of projects we want to fund:

  • Projects that add value to the area’s trails and secure and maintain the network of businesses surrounding them.  Our trails include the ‘physical’, such as well established long distance footpaths, cycle routes, trailways and rivers and the ‘virtual’ between sites of interest and literary connections etc.;
  • Projects that improve tourism facilities, especially to the promotion of local food and cultural activities e.g. Farm shops, farmers markets, restaurants, food events etc.;
  • Collaborative projects and joint promotion which encourage tourists or visitors to move between destinations;
  • Projects to improve the diversity and quality of tourist accommodation alongside trails. Conversion projects should not affect the local housing supply.

In 2016 we will call for a project to put the area on the map – to create a digital platform to promote the area and what it has to offer, including business, accommodation and events.

Tourism projects should demonstrate clear gaps in provision and provide evidence for market demand. We also expect applicants to refer to the recommendations of the Dorset Destination Management Plan in their application. Although eligible, projects which improve the quality of tourist accommodation are considered a lower priority by the LAG. A higher priority will be given to projects that support and expand the network of trails and businesses associated with them.

Download the Dorset Destination Management Plan (PDF, opens in a new window/tab)

LAG Priority

Making Connections between businesses and within the Economy; Making Connections between Places, Making Connections between Communities

Leader Priority

Support for rural tourism

Funding Available

Minimum grant approximately £5,000. Maximum grant approximately £150,000 to cover 40 – 80% of the project’s eligible costs, depending on whether the applicant is non-profit making or a commercial tourist business.

Who Can Apply?

New or existing rural based micro and small businesses, farm businesses that want to diversify, community groups and / or groups of rural tourist businesses, local authorities, public-private partnerships.

N_WWF_Farming N_WWF_Forestry N_WWF_RuralBusiness
N_WWF_Culture&Heritage N_WWF_Tourism N_WWF_RuralServices