VisitEngland has today announced the final five successful applicants to secure year-one funding from the £40 million Discover England Fund.
The latest winning bids include a project to inspire more tourists to visit the coast, and a scheme to target US visitors with an interest in the Second World War in East Anglia.
Also securing funding are projects to develop Hull as an international gateway for cultural experiences throughout the north; a drive to entice international conference delegates to stay in England for longer; and a plan to encourage visitors to explore rural England in eco-friendly electric cars.
Today’s announcement brings the final number of winning projects for year-one funding to 21 with a combined value of nearly £4 million.
They will target key inbound visitor markets including the US, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Australia as well as growth markets such as China and the Middle East by offering new tourism products.
Tracey Crouch, tourism minister, said: “The Discover England fund will help promote fantastic tourist destinations for overseas visitors and Brits holidaying at home.
“This is a brilliant opportunity to share the benefits of our booming tourist industry throughout the country.”
Sally Balcombe, VisitEngland chief executive, added: “We look forward to working closely with the winners to build world-class ‘bookable’ English tourism products to support the growth of one of England’s most successful industries: tourism.”
The second phase of the fund is calling for large-scale destination-led collaborative bids worth more than £1 million.
The five successful applicants announced today are:
• 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.
• The last mile by e-car
Tackling the issue of how to see some of England’s best rural scenery 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 countryside. Focusing on Oxford and the Cotswolds (pictured), this pilot will increase the awareness of the new service with tourism businesses and promote it to consumers.
• Cultural England from Hull to Liverpool
Taking advantage of its 2017 status as the UK City of Culture, Hull will lead 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 study the introduction of a Transpennine Cultural Rover rail ticket.
• The Friendly Invasion
During the Second World War 180,000 US airmen were based in East Anglia. Visitors from the US 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 a range of experiences that includes themed events and tours of the airbases, this new product will be promoted to US consumers through the well-established memorial societies which are devoted to keeping the history of the Americans in England alive.
• Delegate engagement
The Core Cities group, led by Marketing Liverpool, will develop and test an online booking mechanism to encourage international conference delegates to stay in England for longer. The new functionality will provide and promote a range of ideas and products that can be booked in advance as either a pre or post-conference extended break.
Pictured is a bed-and-breakfast in Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds. ©VisitBritain/Tim Fox.