Discover England Fund overview

Delivering world-class products. Responding to consumer needs and market opportunities. Driving growth in international tourism and benefiting the domestic market.

Discover England Fund

The three-year £40million Discover England Fund, announced by Government in 2015, will ensure that England stays 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 supports the growth of one of England’s most successful export industries, inbound tourism. Tourism is an industry that delivers jobs and economic growth across the English regions - generating £106 billion a year and employing over two million people, with a strong domestic market. England has seen record tourism spend in the past year from both domestic and international visitors. 

To continue to achieve such growth is not without its challenges:

  • More and more destinations recognise the strong growth potential of inbound tourism so that our customers from traditional markets see new places to explore, while the strongest growth comes from markets that do not know much about England and may have different expectations 
  • London continues to have global appeal and be an easy sell, but we need to ensure that visitors explore all of England and experience the wealth of attractions that we offer – at the moment 54% of international visitor spend is in London
  • Our transport connections don’t make this exploration easy – we know that international visitors are nervous of driving on the ‘wrong side’ of the road
  • And of course customers now expect to book online, use distributors and comparison websites, and see availability even at short notice – so we need to be tech and digitally savvy as an industry to stay ahead of the curve.

The Discover England Fund will tackle these challenges head on. 

The £40 million funding available is staged as follows:

  • Year 1 (2016/17): £6.5 million
  • Year 2 (2017/18):  £10 million
  • Year 3 (2018/19):  £18.05 million
  • Year 4 (2019/20): £5.45 million - an extended period was granted for delivery of the large scale projects to ensure delivery and/or amplification to September 2019
  • Year 5 (2020/21):  £5.5m – additional funding allocated by HM Treasury including grant funding to existing projects, marketing and distribution activity led by VisitBritain/VisitEngland and evaluation and research

A large proportion of this investment is distributed through grant awards to projects. There have been five distinct opportunities to apply:  

Year 1 – for small-scale pilot projects delivered by March 2017.

Year 2 – for small-scale pilot project to be delivered by March 2018. 

Year 2 to 4 – for large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two year period 2017-2019 and will create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers.

Year 3 – Focused small-scale projects to be delivered by March 2019.

Year 5 – for existing large-scale projects and year 3 projects, to support recovery in light of COVID-19 and ongoing product development to be delivered by March 2021