In Funding

VisitEngland is now calling for bids for the second round (years 2 and 3) of the Discover England Fund, a £40 million initiative which aims to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry by offering world-class bookable English tourism products.

Partners are invited to come together to apply to develop innovative and exciting projects to acheive the following:

  • Develop world-class English tourism products that respond to international customer demand and have the ability to be bookable and distributed through new and existing channels
  • Join-up the product offering across large geographies or nationwide through a thematic approach for the benefit of the customer
  • Drive a collaborative and partnership approach to delivery across Destination Organisations and LEP boundaries for the longer term

The second round covers 2 funding options:

Option 1:  2-year large-scale collaborative projects

The major bulk of investment in Years 2-3 (£13m) will support a series of 2-year projects of a minimum value of £1m that deliver the required step-change in English bookable tourism product and joined-up collaborative delivery that is crucial to the Discover England Fund’s objectives.

Option 2: 1-year projects and pilots (new and continuation of Round 1)

A further £2m is available in Year 2 to support:

A small number of new 1-year projects and pilots of up to £250k that test and trial approaches to product development, build knowledge and generate good practice to share widely across the tourism industry.
Continuation funds of up to £250k for a small number of Round 1 projects where early successes can be demonstrated
Expressions of interest for option 1 should be submitted in September and October 2016. More information and further details on the application timetable can be found on the VisitBritain website. Further details on when and how to apply for option 2 will be available in early 2017.

Meanwhile, Tourism Alliance has recently announced the seven successful Discover England Round 1 projects as follows:

1. Golf Tourism England

Golf Tourism England Limited will work with a range of stakeholders to develop an online platform that brings together England’s golf-related businesses for the Asia, Europe and North America markets. This initiative capitalises on the untapped potential of England’s golf tourism sector and responds to demand from international tour operators who are keen to have better access England’s wide-range of golf experiences.

 2. Telling the Stories of England: Developing Cultural Tourism Products across England for the US Alumni and Affinity Tours

Led by the tour operator, UK Countryside Tours (UKCT), this bid will see the creation of geographic and thematic historical, cultural and countryside tours for the US alumni and affinity (special interest) markets. To develop these tours across England, they will be working in partnership with two larger travel companies, as well as with cultural and historic specialists in, for example, Medieval or Georgian England, natural history or art.

 3. Gardens and Gourmet

Through the use of innovative technology, this new, bookable visitor pass will enable visitors from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the US staying in London to explore the gardens and gourmet offer in Cheshire and Kent. This bid is led by VisitKent and brings together a number of destination partners including Essex, Cheshire, Hertfordshire and The Peak District.

 4. South West Coastal Path – Amazing Experiences and Making Memories

A whole range of bookable experiences will be brought together using new technology along the South West Coastal Path, including scenery, activities, places to eat and accommodation, for German and Dutch visitors who want to explore by foot or by bike. The South West Coast Path Association, will work in collaboration with destination management organisations in the South West to develop and market this online product.

 5. England’s Seafood Coast

Inspired by local chef Mitch Tonks and his celebration of local seafood, this bid from the English Riviera Tourism Company will see them working with DEFRA and local partners to transform the Riviera’s status as an international seafood destination in Western Europe as well as to scope the development of a new national product England’s Seafood Coast to attract international visitors.

 6. Incentive England

To grow the volume and value of the incentive travel market in England from China, North America and the Middle East, Leopold Marketing will develop all-encompassing incentive itineraries, coach tourism businesses on how to service this valuable sector and engage not only with UK-based Destination Management Companies (DMCs) but also incentive houses overseas to raise awareness and encourage bookings. All products will also feature on a cloud-based product database.

 7. Self-guided activity app

Compass Holidays’ current mobile app uses a mapping system to guide tourists. This project will enable them to upgrade their product to provide visitors with rich content on the local area and enable them to make bookings easily – and without a data connection. The upgrade will be trialled for Cornwall and the Cotswolds initially and local businesses will have free listings/interactive features, driving footfall to attractions, towns and public transport routes.

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