US Independence Day launch for ‘Connections’ project

An Anglo-American ‘Connections’ project called Tour England launches today (July 4) to encourage US visitors to explore England.

Led by Destination Plymouth, the project is a collaboration between 13 destinations in the run-up to 2020 – which marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage from Plymouth to the New World.

Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Essex, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Plymouth, the English Riviera and Worcestershire will showcase themes with appeal to US visitors, such as Magna Carta and the rule of law, Mayflower, Virginia and early American colonisation, the Second World War, the US military and the ‘Special Relationship.’

Travel writer Fionn Davenport (pictured) has been appointed as the product creator for the Tour England ‘Connections’ project and will travel across the 13 regions to explore the product that will appeal to the US market, to help create these itineraries.

He said: “The opportunity to explore a chunk of England at a granular level is very exciting. I’ve been a travel writer for a long time, and it is these kinds of experiences, travelling around a country exploring attractions big and small, visiting famous sites and discovering less well-known ones, that remind me I have one of the best jobs in the world.”

Amanda Lumley, executive director for Destination Plymouth and Discover England Fund US Connections project director, added: “US visitors are increasingly seeking immersive experiences; they want sight-doing not just sight-seeing and want to be able to steep themselves in local cultures and traditions.

“We know that US visitors love and want to experience the heritage and history of England – which is why we have set out to develop these bespoke, bookable itineraries.”

The new itineraries will be on sale and available for tour operators and agents to add to their portfolios from September 2018.

Alongside the itinerary development, a series of training with the tourism businesses in the regions is under way to ensure that they are able to provide the rates and availability that tour operators need.

‘Connections’ is one of several projects to receive funding from the UK government’s £40 million Discover England Fund administered by VisitEngland.

Sally Balcombe, VisitEngland chief executive, commented: “Our research shows that many US visitors come to Britain due to historic family connections and these ancestry themed itineraries will inspire them to explore more of regional England.”