English tourism businesses offered slice of Discover England Fund

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Discover England Fund is designed to help tourists reach more areas of the country
The Discover England Fund is designed to help tourists reach more areas of the country

Related tags: Tourism

Tourism businesses and organisations in England are being invited to apply for funding for projects that would help make the country more appealing to international visitors and staycationers. 

The three-year staged £40m Discover England Fund has been set up to help build 'world-class' tourism products and experiences across the country. 

Tourism body VisitEngland is now calling for applications for projects of up to £250k that could be completed by 31 March 2017 with both destinations and businesses of all sizes welcomed to submit bids. 

Those invited to apply include tourism businesses, local tourism umbrella organisations, transport companies, technology companies and local authorities who can demonstrate how their project would impact tourism growth. 

VisitEngland/VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “Tourism is a major job creator and latest figures show that visitors are coming here in record-breaking numbers. However it is also a fiercely competitive global industry.

“To fight for our market share and stay competitive in this fast-moving, fast-growing industry we need to be able to offer world-class tourism products to the right customers at the right time. By converting aspiration to visit into bookings we can drive more visitors across England, ultimately spreading the economic benefits of tourism across all our regions."

Outside London

Balcombe said part of the Government funding would be used to 'tackle the challenge' of encouraging international visitors to explore the whole of England. 

“While London continues to have global appeal, with more than half of international visitor spend in London, there are a wealth of attractions for visitors to enjoy beyond the capital," she said. 

“Our transport connections don’t always make this exploration easy, and customers now expect to book online, use distributors and comparison websites, and see availability at short notice, so we need to be tech and digitally savvy as an industry to keep ahead." 

Tourism is said to generate about £106bn every year for the English economy. Visits and spend made by both domestic and international tourists in England were both up last year,  

Tourism Minister David Evennett added: “England has so much to offer tourists, from our stunning countryside to historic buildings and vibrant cities, and yet many international visitors never travel further than London.

"The Discover England Fund will help develop exciting new experiences and trips for tourists to enjoy across the regions and make sure the whole country can share the economic benefits from our booming tourism industry."

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