The three-year-project aims to increase domestic tourism by generating a total of £365m in additional tourism spend and 9,100 new jobs. It is funded by £19.8m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), with contributions from VisitEngland and the private sector.
“The tourism industry is a key part of the country’s economic growth strategy,” said Grant. “It supports local jobs and businesses up and down the country. The Growing Tourism Locally campaign is giving a boost to the domestic market and in its first year it has seen just under £100m additional tourism spend and nearly two thousand additional jobs created in England.”
Destination campaigns were rolled out in 2012 throughout the whole of the country. These campaigns were complemented with a number of thematic initiatives which ran in early 2013 to stimulate Easter and Summer holiday bookings for the year. The themes focused on what England is most loved for including: Heritage, Coastal, Countryside, and Culture. Results for those thematic campaigns are due in January.
Cumbria Tourism kick-started the programme in August 2012 with advertising campaigns called ‘Go Share Great Moments’ and ‘Go Take your Breath Away’ with adverts appearing in London’s key rail and underground stations. Nottingham launched a campaign called ‘In Notts We Love’ focusing on heritage, sporting and other local legends and the York campaign, entitled ‘York Wrapped Up’, promoted short break packages to the city.
VisitEngland’s chief executive James Berresford said: “The RGF funding has provided a huge boost for tourism in England. This project enables our public and private sector partners to work together to stimulate tourism and ultimately create new jobs throughout the country with particular emphasis on some local areas.
“The first year has proved incredibly successful with destinations throughout the country benefiting significantly from this investment, boosting local economies and creating important jobs.”
Business Tourism has also received support from the RGF and will build on VisitEngland’s work with destinations to grow the value of international conferences, events and conventions.
Business Minister Michael Fallon added: "The Regional Growth Fund is making a real difference by supporting VisitEngland and its partners with £19.8m. Over 1,861 jobs have been created from the first year alone which is really encouraging and shows the strength of the country's heritage and contribution to the tourism industry.
“The Regional Growth Fund is helping to kick-start British business and is the Government's commitment to encourage long-term employment, boost private sector growth and lead to a more balanced economy."
The Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England to grow. The total size of the Growing Tourism Locally investment will be £41m including the £19.8 m from the Regional Growth Fund, £9m from VisitEngland, £12m leveraged from the national and local tourism sector.