The nine winning bidders, announced after a rigorous application process, include projects to get international visitors out exploring England’s waterways, initiatives that drive visitors across the North of England on sightseeing programmes and the development of transport links and user-friendly travel booking systems that make it easier to book travel across the country.
Today’s announcement follows the seven projects awarded funding earlier in August. The successful applications focus on attracting visitors from established inbound visitor markets such as the United States, Germany, France and The Netherlands as well as growth markets including China and the Middle East.
Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch said:
"These exciting projects will help encourage even more visitors to experience the wonderful sights and scenery we have across the whole country.
"We are committed to strengthening tourism outside London and these innovative programmes will help build world-class attractions that will draw tourists and benefit local economies."
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
“The successful round-one bidders demonstrate the outstanding quality and innovation thriving across England’s tourism landscape. We received an exceptional number of high quality bids, far outweighing the allocated funding available for year one, and we are looking forward to working together with the successful applicants as we develop England’s competitive tourism offer.”
The successful bids announced to date are worth a combined £3 million and span the length and breadth of the country from Hull and Harwich in the east, to Bristol in the west, Manchester in the north and the Cotswolds further south.
The three-year Discover England Fund ensures 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, driving growth from international visitors across the regions and benefitting domestic visitors.
In years two and three the fund will be calling for larger scale, destination-led collaborative bids worth more than £1 million. A smaller funding pot for new one-year projects and pilots, and continuation funding for existing round one projects that can demonstrate early learnings, will also be available.
The Discover England Fund is part of the UK Government’s Tourism Action Plan announced in August. The plan underlines the Government’s commitment to the continued success of the tourism industry, which last year generated £22.1 billion in spending from inbound tourism to Britain and £19.6 billion from domestic overnight tourism spend in England, both record results.
For more information about the Discover England Fund year one (round one): https://www.visitbritain.org/discover-england-fund-year-one-round-one
The nine successful applicants announced today are:
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 rollout bookable itineraries.
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.
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.
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 (http://www.heritagecities.com/), 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.
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.
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 1, 2 or 4 week downloadable passes which will be available in the relevant language.
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.
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.
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.