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 funding available is staged over the three years as follows:
- Year 1 (2016/17): £6.5 million
- Year 2 (2017/18): £11.5 million
- Year 3 (2018/19): £22.0 million
A large proportion of this investment will be distributed through grant awards to projects. There are two distinct rounds:
Round 1 – Round 1 for small-scale projects and pilots will be delivered by March 2017.
The second round to test and trial new approaches to product development for international consumers to be delivered by March 2018 is now open for expressions of interest until 10 March 2017.
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. (The deadline for expressions of interest was closed on 28 October 2016).
Continuation funding for existing Round 1 projects that can demonstrate early learnings is also going through an application process in order to deliver between April 2017 and by March 2018.