VisitEngland has announced the latest successful applicants to receive funding from the £40 million Discover England Fund for tourism product development.
The 11 successful bids receive funding of up to £250,000 in the third year of the fund.
The latest tranche of funding will target international visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC), the Nordics, Spain, Portugal, the US and Ireland.
Tourism minister Michael Ellis said: “The Discover England Fund helps to promote our brilliant tourist destinations to visitors all over the world. This round of funding will showcase the north west and north east of England, including its beautiful scenery, historic places and dynamic cultural scene.
“It will also expand tourist products in the Midlands, south and south west so that communities across the country can share the benefits of our booming tourism industry.”
Sally Balcombe, VisitEngland chief executive, added: “The Discover England Fund continues to bring imaginative projects to life, increasing the choice of tourism products available to international visitors and in markets that research shows they will appeal.
“From cultural experiences that allow visitors to acquire new skills and products that get people exploring our Unesco World Heritage sites to projects that help groups get acquainted with regional England, activity delivered through the fund is driving tourism growth throughout the country.”
One of the new schemes is the Northern World Heritage Collection, led by Cumbria Tourism.
Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, commented: “World Heritage status has huge resonance with overseas markets and it’s been shown that many international visitors treat World Heritage Sites as ‘must dos’ as they travel around the globe.
“It’s great timing with the imminent opening of Carlisle Lake District Airport, as well as new routes coming into Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
“With two World Heritage Sites in the county [Lake District and Hadrian’s Wall, pictured], we feel we are perfectly placed to up the ante both for Cumbria and our northern neighbours on the global stage.”
Rachel McQueen, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, commented on the Discover more than just a holiday project, saying: “We have so many culturally distinct experiences that often surprise visitors once they’re here, and this award will provide just the boost we need to make inroads into a new and exciting market.
“We have good connections with the Nordic countries thanks to regular flights into Manchester International Airport, as well as good connectivity across the region via rail and road networks.
“Targeting this market will enable us to open up new, lasting partnerships that could benefit the region for years to come.”
A foodie project, Developing The Urban Food Hub, is led by Destination Bristol.
Kathryn Davis, Destination Bristol’s head of tourism, commented: “The Bristol region is bursting with incredible food and drink.
“Often the everyday offer of Sunday roast, afternoon tea or a pint in the local can seem like a fascinating and quirky custom to international visitors.
“This initiative is about uncovering those experiences – tours, tastings, chefs’ tables, opportunities to meet producers and getting into kitchens to learn skills.
“Our aim is to help bring these experiences to market, working with the professional travel trade to ensure they are bookable before travel and are used as motivators to visit the city and create special memories.”
The new projects bring the number to receive funding so far through the Discover England Fund to 43.
The Northern World Heritage Collection, led by Cumbria Tourism
Targeting the US and Irish markets, this project will tell the story of England’s culture and heritage through northern Unesco World Heritage sites, launching bookable products to the travel trade for the group and fully independent traveller (FIT) markets.
Discover more than just a holiday, led by Marketing Lancashire
This project targets Nordic visitors aged 18-34 with culturally distinct experiences, inspiring them to explore the north west while acquiring new skills, discovering new tastes or undertaking self-improvement activities.
Buzzing for the weekend, led by Warrington Council
This focuses on those aged 18-25 from Spain and Portugal and will encourage tourists flying into Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport to explore the Liverpool City Region as well as Cheshire and Lancashire for short breaks revolving around dance, exploration, food and drink.
Manchester Musical Gateway, led by Marketing Manchester
This project will evaluate the appeal of Greater Manchester as a music tourism destination, and identify opportunities to promote Manchester as the Gateway to the North for music lovers.
Uncover the Cotswolds, led by Cotswolds Tourism
Responding to feedback from tour operators, the ‘Uncover the Cotswolds’ project will create tours that bring together authentic local experiences within the Cotswolds, Forest of Dean and Wye Valley into an easily bookable format for tour operators.
Authentic Collections, led by Hotels and More
The ‘Authentic England’ project will develop tours for up to 16. The small group touring product will allow for tailored experiences supporting smaller and privately owned accommodation providers as well as local restaurants.
Further funding for ongoing Discover England Fund schemes:
Brilliant Science, led by Marketing Cheshire
Amplification funding will focus on extending the stay of delegates attending scientific conferences in Manchester and bringing new scientific association conferences to Cheshire and Staffordshire.
Horseracing – Sport of Kings, led by Marketing Cheshire
This project puts together itineraries incorporating England’s race-courses, and the funding will ensure that they are targeting GCC visitors by working with destination management companies (DMCs) and travel bureaux.
England’s Literary Greats, led by Visit Hampshire and Visit Nottinghamshire
This project will fine-tune itineraries based around literary figures, adding associated film locations and deepening trade engagement.
England’s Seafood Coast, led by English Riviera BID
Building on years one and two of the project, ‘England’s Seafood Coast’ aims to transform the profile of England as a world-class seafood destination.
Developing The Urban Food Hub, led by Destination Bristol
It will focus on food and beverage products and activities from businesses that might normally be considered outside the tourism landscape, promoting Bristol as well as the rural area surrounding the city.