There are warnings that rural communities across the UK will suffer considerably after Brexit, unless the government finds an alternative for the millions of pounds that the European Union currently invests in rural tourism. Last year, businesses up and down the country received £80 million through initiatives like the Common Agricultural Policy and the Leader program.
Areas like Cornwall, West Wales and the Valleys, which are regarded as having weaker economies, received additional subsidies, Sky News reported. Tourism is one of largest British industries, creating around 3.1 million jobs.
However, according to Tourism Alliance, UK national and local government investments have fallen considerably in recent years—from £179 million in 2008 to £71 million in 2016.
Local businesses often apply for EU funding to meet marketing, staffing and startup costs.
There is an ongoing inquiry by a group of MPs looking into the role of rural tourism, but those whose livelihoods depend on it want assurances from the government now.
Kurt Janson from the Tourism Alliance told Sky News, "We need to work out the issues as quickly as possible so that we don't have this cliff edge in two years' time.
"The sooner that we can identify the issue and come up with a replacement scheme, the smoother the transition will be and the better it will be for the rural economy as well."
Post Brexit, some farmers are likely to diversify into leisure activities as funding for those who rear cows and sheep is likely to drop. That will undoubtedly place even more importance on rural tourism.
For many businesses, EU funding is a lifeline. It helps them to start up, it keeps them going. But without that funding, there are deep concerns for the future.