Developing world-class English tourism product

Developing bookable tourism products
Making England easier to explore
Providing industry-leading research

The £40m Discover England Fund helps develop world-class, bookable English tourism products that meet changing international customer demand. In 2016/17 the Fund delivered 20 year one pilots and a raft of research to help English tourism adapt, grow and stay competitive.

The Fund has also fostered long-term, joined-up working between destination management organisations (DMOs), industry and local enterprise partnerships to develop new, thematic products across England.

Developing new English tourism products

Coastal paths and country estates; heritage sites and city centres: the three-year, £40 million Discover England Fund supports projects as diverse as England itself. DMOs, transport providers and sector businesses have produced new tickets, tours and itineraries, helping visitors to explore the length and breadth of the country.


Making exploration easier

A key strategic priority for the Fund is improving connectivity across England, opening up its many regions to more visitors. Year one saw a range of products introduced to achieve this:

  • New tickets from National Express, the Rail Delivery Group and TransPennine Express increased travel options, encouraging wider exploration with increased travel options and passes in visitors’ own languages. The E-Car Club in Oxford and the Cotswolds meant visitors can now easily combine public transport with car travel, making it simpler to explore England’s countryside.
  • Visitors from Gulf Cooperation Council countries now benefit from a twin-city package, created by London & Partners. It has established better connections from London to the regional hub of Manchester. Development of new sightseeing tours and day trips by Marketing Manchester positioned the city as a gateway to the north of England and have added even more appeal.
  • STA Travel’s England airpasses, self-drive itineraries, day tours and music festival packages showcased England’s best experiences, whilst encouraging younger visitors to see more of what the nation has to offer.


Regions and businesses working together

Industry and local DMO partners collaborated to develop innovative, inter-regional products and itineraries that reinvigorated England’s tourism offer outside the capital.

  • Fresh itineraries and tours were created by Marketing Birmingham and UK Countryside Tours, helping visitors explore more of England’s countryside and waterways.
  • Independent tours, including a brand new museum, from Visit East Anglia’s Friendly Invasion project, help visitors discover the range of attractions on offer across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridge.
  • Visit Kent and other destination organisations produced Gardens and Gourmet passes showcasing outstanding gardens and restaurants in Kent, Cheshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and the Peak District.


Maximising digital

In year one, new products and platforms utilised the power of digital media to improve visitor experiences.  

  • US and Australian visitors can now access multi-currency functionality when booking online, thanks to Super Break. Golf Tourism England created five new golf tours and a new website has received over 22,000 page views since launch.
  • Responding to more demand for mobile applications to complement visitor experiences, Compass Holidays enhanced a self-guided activity app.
  • England’s Heritage Cities achieved 6,574 downloads of a new mobile application and 42,831 visits to new pages for its 13 locations.
  • Enhancing England’s incentive travel market, Leopold Marketing created all-encompassing itineraries hosted on the cloud.
Discover England Fund research into the motivations and barriers when planning business events
Discover England Fund year 1 projects film
Discover England Fund Future Trends report

Shaping English tourism’s future

Round two of the Fund is supporting large scale projects as well as new smaller projects and pilots.

Two large-scale, collaborative projects secured funding for years two and three of the Fund’s operation, following on from the successful completion of their Round one Fund supported pilot project. The Great West Way, England’s first long-distance touring route between London and Bristol, received £1 million with a 40% match contribution by VisitWiltshire and partners.

England’s Coast, which enables visitors to create custom coastal itineraries, also received £1m from the Discover England fund with a 40% match contribution by the National Coastal Tourism Academy.

Meanwhile, new pilot projects announced for year two include:

  • Royal Racecourses – The ‘Sport of Kings’ (overseen by Cheshire West and Chester Council) offers experience-led itineraries combining luxury accommodation and renowned racecourses for Chinese and Middle Eastern visitors.
  • New packages developed by Contiki for 18-35 year olds from Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and USA, bring together landmarks, heritage and accommodation.
  • A new ‘food and drink hub’ concept, trialled by Destination Bristol to build on the city’s growing gourmet reputation and create a blueprint for other cities across England.


Industry-leading research

a collage of DEF research coversOver the course of 2016/17, we developed a research programme designed to support product development across England. It has provided vital insights into international visitor preferences regarding leisure activity and accommodation for the benefit of businesses and destinations of all sizes.

In addition to research into forward-thinking approaches and concept generation, there were practical case studies revealing the latest thinking on product development from around the world.

Our ‘London Plus’ research provided insights into capitalising on the appeal of England’s regions. Destination Reports for 20 key English tourism locations revealed how the industry - and the public - view England’s tourism offer outside the capital.

To help English business event organisers enhance their offer and encourage business visitors to extend their trip for leisure purposes, the programme covered research into motivations and barriers to attracting business events as well as insights into ‘business extenders’.


"Innovative product development. Vital support and research for England’s tourism. Find out more about the Discover England Fund."