Discover England Fund

Developing world-class English tourism products
Responding to consumer needs
Driving growth in international tourism
£40m Discover England Fund will keep England competitive by offering world-class tourism products to the right customers at the right time

Driving growth in international tourism and benefiting the domestic market. Responding to consumer needs and market opportunities. Fuelling our competitive edge. The Discover England Fund is sparking fresh ideas and facing industry challenges head on.

Keeping England competitive

Young boy holding a hawkThe three-year £40 million Discover England Fund, announced by Government in November 2015, aims to keep England competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry, by offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right time.

The Fund successfully attracted an exceptional number of high quality bids for Year One (2016/17) funding, far outweighing the allocated funding available for its inaugural year.

From golf to stories, seafood to a self-guided activity app, the first two tranches of successful Year One projects for a combined £3 million were announced in August and September 2016 with a third tranche to follow. Focusing on a wide-range of international markets, including established markets such as the US, Germany, France and the Netherlands, as well as growth markets such as the Middle East, they collectively cover the length and breadth of the regions of England.

In August 2016, Round 2 (Years 2 – 2017/18 – and 3 – 2017/18) of the Fund opened for large-scale collaborative projects. The major bulk of investment will support a series of two-year projects (2017-2019) of a minimum value of £1 million that deliver the required step-change in English bookable tourism product and joined-up collaborative delivery that is crucial to the Discover England Fund’s objectives.

Two distinct bidding rounds
  • Round 1 – Small-scale projects and pilots to be delivered by March 2017 to test and trial new approaches to product development for international consumers 
  • Round 2 – Large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two year period 2017-2019 and create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers; plus a small pot available for new 1 year projects and pilots and continuation funding for existing Round 1 projects that can demonstrate early learnings
Sally Balcombe speaking to industry on the Discover England Fund
Engaging with industry at the Fund's regional sessions
Download more on the Discover England Fund
Powerpoint slide showing our research innovation strategy
Informing future product development through research

Driving growth, deepening knowledge

Children running in a sunny gardenResearch underpins the Fund, giving prospective applicants vital insights and market intelligence to ensure robust and well-considered projects are proposed. The funding also supports the delivery of a national research programme, including specific industry research requests, to inform future product development and generate industry-wide benefits.

Covering subjects from consumer attitudes and behaviours to barriers to English tourism growth, future trends to best practice/case studies, the research conducted will be an invaluable future resource for the tourism industry when considering product development and growth opportunities.

Activity started in 2016 includes working to develop an approach/toolkit for product innovation in tourism, and adapting a programme of secondary analysis to reflect specific requests from the English tourism industry – focussing on life stages, destination types, regional gateways and public transport.

The Fund will help to address challenges facing the English tourism industry, including:
  • Growing competition for inbound tourism from more destinations, which means customers from traditional markets have access to new places to explore 
  • The need to ensure that visitors explore all of England and experience the wealth of attractions on offer beyond London
  • Transport connections, which don’t make exploration easy. For example, we know that international visitors are nervous of driving on the ‘wrong side’ of the road
  • The need to be technologically and digitally aware, as customers now expect to book online, use distributors and comparison websites, and see availability even at short notice
The Fund will help destinations to build on growth in the light of an ever-competitive industry and a challenging customer landscape.