Virgin Trains partners with VisitEngland to boost tourism in flood affected north

Virgin Trains is offering a 30% discount off advance fares to areas affected by recent flooding as part of a three-month promotion.

The operator has teamed up with VisitEngland to support the #Openforbusiness message in Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Northumberland, to encourage people to visit the national parks, historical cities and cultural places of interest.

The partnership comes four days after the government’s announcement of the Flood Recovery Fund and a new £1 million ‘Staycation’ marketing campaign to promote tourism in the North of England.

It is hoped the partnership will boost visitor numbers in the area following the damage caused by storms Desmond, Eva and Frank in December 2015. The offer is timed to coincide with the February half-term holiday and Easter break in March.

Discounted fares are available from February 9 on direct Virgin Trains services to destinations including Carlisle, Lancaster, Oxenholme, Penrith and Preston on the west coast route and Berwick-upon-Tweed, Doncaster, Leeds, Morpeth and York on the east coast. These fares will be available three weeks before the date of travel.

Destination organisations along the east and west coast are also pulling together a raft of late availability offers and deals to help customers make the most of this great travel offer.

Managing director at Virgin Trains Phil Whittingham said: “We’re proud to be supporting VisitEngland’s campaign, showing that the affected regions are very much open for business.

“Working together with Virgin Trains East Coast shows our commitment to the communities we serve – we’re really keen to get behind them by encouraging people to visit these fantastic counties. We hope as many people as possible travel and show their support to bring back tourism.”

Culture secretary John Whittingdale, said: “I very much welcome this initiative by Virgin Trains which will encourage even more people to visit the North and see its stunning countryside, vibrant cities and world-class attractions.

“The Government is actively supporting our tourism businesses as they recover from the recent floods and showing that the area is open for business. This new deal will encourage many more people to enjoy a break in the North over the coming weeks.”