Latest bids to win funding from £40 million Discover England Fund announced

VisitEngland has today announced funding of £1million from the Discover England Fund to develop a major new tourism route between London and Bristol.

The ‘Great West Way’ project, led by destination management organisation VisitWiltshire, is set to transform tourism along the 125-mile route.

The major investment will develop a new touring route and link a package of tailored visitor experiences, including destinations, accommodation, attractions and transport options. The ‘Great West Way’ will make it easier for international visitors to book personalised trips that take in more of the region, boosting tourism along the way.   

The ‘Great West Way’ project receives £1 million over two years from the Discover England Fund (and is 40% match-funded by VisitWiltshire and partners).

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:

“We have been delighted by the many bids reflecting the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape. This commitment to fund the ‘Great West Way’ is the first of a number of major investments that will enhance England’s tourism offer. Together, the successful Discover England Fund projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth, creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across the country.”

Funding for three smaller-scale projects, of one year’s duration, are also announced today and have been awarded up to £250,000 (and are 20% match-funded). These are:

‘Royal Racecourses – The Sport of Kings’

Cheshire West and Chester Council are creating experience-led itineraries for visitors from China and the Middle East, incorporating world-famous race-courses (Ascot, Newmarket, York and Chester) with luxury accommodation offers, in heritage locations.

Contiki, the youth travel company

Contiki is developing new packages for 18-35 year olds targeting visitors from Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and USA. These will include iconic landmarks, heritage locations and accommodation.

‘Creating English City Food Hubs’

Destination Bristol is trialling an urban ‘food and drink hub’ concept to promote the area’s growing reputation as a destination for produce. The template will be rolled out to other urban areas.

The three-year £40million Discover England Fund, which runs from 2016-19, improves England’s competitive tourism offer by building world-class, bookable tourism products and getting them to the right international customers at the right time, benefitting the domestic market and making it easier to explore the country.

Today’s successful bids follow the 20 pilot projects that were announced in 2016, the first year of the Discover England Fund. In years two and three the fund brings to life destination-led collaborative bids worth more than £1 million, as well as smaller pilots and continuation funding for existing round one projects that demonstrated early learning.

For more information about the Discover England Fund go to:

Notes to Editors:

About the Discover England Fund:

  • In November 2015, the Government announced a £40 million Discover England Fund, an unprecedented opportunity for English tourism. The Fund delivers world-class bookable tourism products, joined up across geographies and/or themes; including integrated transport solutions to provide an end-to-end customer experience.
  • The Fund supports the growth of one of England’s most valuable export industries, inbound tourism. Tourism is an industry that delivers jobs and economic growth across the English regions.  The Fund supported 20 pilot projects in year one (2016/17) that tested product development approaches.  In years two and three, 2017-19, the fund will support:
    • A number of large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two year period 2017-2019 that will create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers,
    • A smaller funding pot for new one year pilot projects (in year two), and
    • Continuation funding for existing year one projects that demonstrated early learnings (in year two).