The money will be used on a three-year project entitled Growing Tourism Locally. A key part of the project will be a national campaign aimed at inspiring Britons to take more short breaks and holidays at home, leading to a potential increase of up to 10,000 jobs in the industry.
James Berresford, VisitEngland chief executive, said: “This is a huge boost for VisitEngland as the country’s national tourist board, working in partnership to facilitate growth at a local level. With this additional money we can mount a serious campaign to stimulate domestic tourism that has the potential to create the equivalent of 9,500 full time jobs in areas across the country suffering economic challenges.
“Our strategy is to work with tourism partners and the private sector at a national and local level. Our partners will manage elements of the campaign pertaining directly to their local destination, whilst VisitEngland will manage the national strategy which will support this local activity. We will work closely with Government on the next stage of the process which determines the terms and conditions of the funding.
“The national marketing campaign will see VisitEngland working closely with private sector partners to match fund the grant received from the RGF.”
The Growing Tourism Locally campaign will capitalise on next year’s once-in-a-generation events including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Diamond Jubilee, the Cultural Olympiad and the Torch Relay that will together act as a catalyst for more visitors to the UK.
The British Hospitality Association said the news was a 'welcome boost' to VisitEngland's promotional work.
"The £19.8m grant represents an investment in the future of the UK tourism industry and shows much-needed official support for Britain’s fifth largest industry," said deputy chief executive Martin Couchman. "It is a very welcome boost of VisitEngland’s promotional work which aims to expand the market and encourage more British people to stay at home for their holidays."