Discover England Fund Year 1 Pilot Projects

The first phase of successful applicants to receive year one funding from the Discover England Fund were announced in Autumn 2016. Activities and outputs have been delivered by 31 March 2017.

Targeting visitors from 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 China and the Middle East, these projects collectively cover the length and breadth of the regions of England. They also demonstrate partnership working across a range of tourism businesses, destinations, transport providers, cultural, historic and coastal organisations, as well as the wider private sector. 

Watch the new video on the winning projects and read more about them below:

1. Golf Tourism England

Golf Tourism England Limited will work with a range of stakeholders to develop an online platform that brings together England’s golf-related businesses for the Asia, Europe and North America markets. This initiative capitalises on the untapped potential of England’s golf tourism sector and responds to demand from international tour operators who are keen to have better access England’s wide-range of golf experiences.

2. Telling the Stories of England: Developing Cultural Tourism Products across England for the US Alumni and Affinity Tours

Led by the tour operator, UK Countryside Tours (UKCT), this bid will see the creation of geographic and thematic historical, cultural and countryside tours for the US alumni and affinity (special interest) markets. To develop these tours across England, they will be working in partnership with two larger travel companies, as well as with cultural and historic specialists in, for example, Medieval or Georgian England, natural history or art. 

3. Gardens and Gourmet

Visit Kent, working with the destination teams in Cheshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and the Peak District, will package each region's outstanding gardens and gourmet offer as bookable products, to give international visitors a new high-quality and sensory experience of rural England.

4. South West Coast Path – Amazing Experiences and Making Memories

A whole range of bookable experiences will be brought together using new technology along the South West Coast Path, including scenery, activities, places to eat and accommodation, for German and Dutch visitors who want to explore on foot. The South West Coast Path Association, will work in collaboration with destination management organisations in the South West to develop and market this online product.

5. England’s Seafood Coast

Inspired by local chef Mitch Tonks and his celebration of local seafood, this bid from the English Riviera Tourism Company will see them working with DEFRA and local partners to transform the Riviera’s status as an international seafood destination in Western Europe as well as to scope the development of a new national product England’s Seafood Coast to attract international visitors.

6. Incentive England

To grow the volume and value of the incentive travel market in England from China, North America and the Middle East, Leopold Marketing will develop all-encompassing incentive itineraries, coach tourism businesses on how to service this valuable sector and engage not only with UK-based Destination Management Companies (DMCs) but also incentive houses overseas to raise awareness and encourage bookings. All products will also feature on a cloud-based product database.

7. Self-guided activity app

Compass Holidays’ current mobile app uses a mapping system to guide tourists. This project will enable them to upgrade their product to provide visitors with rich content on the local area and enable them to make bookings easily – and without a data connection. The upgrade will be trialled for Cornwall and the Cotswolds initially and local businesses will have free listings/interactive features, driving footfall to attractions, towns and public transport routes.

8. The Great West Way

Paving the way for the creation of England’s first globally recognised long-distance touring route this project, led by VisitWiltshire and involving destinations and businesses along a 125 mile route between London and Bristol, will define the best approach for developing, branding and marketing the route and create and roll out bookable itineraries.

9. Growing Manchester as an International Gateway

Recognising a gap in the market for a North of England sightseeing programme, Marketing Manchester’s bid takes the first step towards delivering a set of leisure excursions and business extender trips for international visitors flying into Manchester. The project will additionally develop a city sightseeing itinerary and identify the ways for Manchester to act as an international gateway to Northern England. 

10. Town and Country

This project will see SuperBreak take its strong domestic product to the Australian and US markets. Using regional ports of entry as well as London the customer will be able to create and book holidays in England’s regions that incorporate accommodation and transport. Multi-currency functionality to make online booking easier for international visitors is a key innovation in this project. 

11. Growing new audiences for England’s Heritage Product

Using technology to bring heritage to life this project will develop new content to increase the appeal of England’s heritage with the under-35s in the US. Twelve iconic heritage sites and experiences, one in each of England’s Heritage Cities, will be interpreted using techniques such as augmented reality. This new content will be turned into a set of tools for the travel trade helping them to sell and showcase the breadth and quality of England’s heritage.

12. Discovering the mighty rivers and majestic canals of England

Targeting visitors from Germany and Scandinavia, Marketing Birmingham together with industry and destination partners in the Midlands, will develop two itineraries along a stretch of waterway known as the Warwickshire Ring. Testing the appeal of canal-based holidays with international visitors, the project will develop a set of mini-excursions that can be undertaken along the routes and work with operators to streamline a solution for those wishing to offer point-to-point itineraries. A new digital guide will make the trip easy to do.

13. Brit Xplorer

Visitors from near European markets and further afield will be able to purchase multi-day coach travel passes before they travel to England. National Express UK Coach will work in partnership with key destination management organisations across England to encourage visitors to explore England using one, two or four-week downloadable passes which will be available in the relevant language.

14. BritRail England Pass M-Ticket

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), with technical support from its international licensee Trainline, will be fast-tracking the migration of their BritRail England pass to a m-ticket (mobile) enabling visitors to purchase the England pass online right up to the day of departure and paving the way for and expansion of the BritRail retail network.

15. Britain Fix(-ed): STA Travel

STA Travel will develop an exciting range of bite-size, easy-to-digest packages suited to the international youth market. The packages will be designed to address the lack of regional accessibility and to improve visitor circulation across England. The packages will be provided and promoted to the international market via traditional and digital platforms. They will be trialled with STA Travel’s extensive customer base.

16. London and Manchester: Gateways to England

Collaborating with Marketing Manchester, this project from London & Partners sees open-jaw ticketing (flying into one destination and out of another) become an attractive option for international visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The project will develop two-centre holiday packages and address intercity travel to increase awareness and enhance the appeal of travelling beyond London and experiencing one of England’s great northern cities.

17. Passport to the Coast

Using The Netherlands as a test market, the National Coastal Tourism Academy will engage tourism businesses along the coastline of the East of England between Hull and Harwich to produce thematic itineraries to inspire visitors to choose the coast. A new coastal pass and video based technology will provide a fresh perspective for visitors to build their trips.

18. The last mile by e-car

Tackling the issue of how to see some of England’s best rural product in an eco-friendly way, e-car club will place electric car club vehicles at convenient locations so that international visitors can combine public transport and car travel to explore England’s glorious countryside. Focusing on Oxford and the Cotswolds this pilot will increase the awareness of the new service with tourism businesses and promote it to consumers.

19. Cultural England from Hull to Liverpool

Taking advantage of its 2017 status as the UK City of Culture, Hull will lead on a project that highlights the cultural offer of northern England by developing an itinerary that can be accessed by German and Dutch visitors travelling with P&O Ferries. The itinerary will develop Hull as an international gateway, test the appeal of cultural experiences in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and scope the introduction of a Transpennine Cultural Rover rail ticket.

20. The Friendly Invasion

During the Second World War 180,000 US airmen were based in East Anglia.  Visitors from the United States are very interested in the lives and experiences of their compatriots’ time in the region and this project will make treading in their footsteps a more simple and appealing proposition. Packaging up a range of experiences that includes the essence of England combined with themed events and tours of the airbases themselves, this new product will be promoted to US consumers through the well-established memorial societies who are devoted to keeping the history of the Americans in England alive.