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18 Jul 2017

Tourism projects receive funding in latest round of VisitEngland's £40m Discover England Fund

Development of a London/Bristol tourism route, a tour of Britain’s world famous horse-racing courses, travel packages for 18-35 year olds, and an urban food and drink hub have been named as the latest projects to receive funding from VisitEngland’s £40m Discover England Fund.

The “Great West Way” project receives the bulk of the funding in this round, with the project led by VisitWiltshire receiving £1m over two years to transform a 125-mile route between London and Bristol.

The investment includes development of the tourism route, along with a link package of tailored visitor experiences including destinations, accommodation, attractions and transport.

The project is designed to ease access for international visitors seeking to explore outside of London, with the bespoke trips allowing them to visit iconic destinations such as Stonehenge along the tourism corridor, boosting the region. The touring route is also multi-modal, creating a route for car, coach, rail, cycling, walking and canal boats.

Three smaller projects have also received a year’s funding, with up to £250,000 awarded to each scheme.

Horseracing fans in China and the Middle East are being specifically targeted by Cheshire West and Chester Council, which is creating an experience-led itinerary incorporating Britain’s most famous race-courses. Named Royal Racecourses – The Sport of Kings, the scheme will offer luxury accommodation in heritage locations around the Ascot, Newmarket, York and Chester race courses.

Travel operator Contiki has also won funding to develop travel packages for 18-35 year old visitors from Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and South Africa. In these packages, overseas visitors will be able to visit England’s most popular landmarks and heritage attractions, with accommodation provided in a tour across Britain.

Finally, Destination Bristol has won funding to trial an urban ‘food and drink hub’ concept to promote the area’s growing reputation as a destination for produce. Should the template be a success, it will be rolled out to other urban areas across Britain.

The Discover England Fund – a staged three-year fund worth £40m (US$49m, €45m) and announced by the government in the 2015 spending review – has been set up to build ‘world-class’ tourism products and experiences that cater to the needs of international visitors to boost inbound spend across England, while also benefitting the domestic tourism market.

“The many bids reflect the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape,” said Sally Balcombe, VisitEngland’s chief executive.

“Together, the successful Discover England Fund projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth, creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across the country.”

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