Gloucester and twelve destination partners have bid successfully for a £500,000 grant from VisitEngland in a collaborative project to develop a range of experiences directed at the US tourism market. ‘Connections’ will produce a series of new, immersive, bookable English-themed visitor experiences specifically for the American market, encouraging visitors to explore England beyond London. The experiences will aim to tap in to the fascination of the many connections between England and America – a shared history, language, culture and ancestry. In an effort to inspire many visitors to discover their roots and the authenticity of local English culture.
Connections is one of a number of successful projects to receive funding from the UK Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund. The Fund is administered by VisitEngland and involves a programme of activity to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry, by offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right timeThe Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.
VisitEngland Chief Executive, Sally Balcombe, said:
“The calibre of submissions to the Discover England Fund reflects the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape. The successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England. Our research shows that many US visitors come to Britain due to historic family connections and these ancestry themed itineraries will inspire them to explore more of regional England.
A large-scale collaboration between 13 destinations, Connections will develop tourism products in the lead up to 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic voyage from Plymouth to the New World. Gloucester along with Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Plymouth, Torbay and Worcestershire will look into themes with significant appeal to US visitors, such as Magna Carta and the rule of law, The writer of the American National Anthem, George Whitfield, The Mayflower, Virginia and early American colonisation, WW2, US military and the ‘special relationship’.
The project also aims to showcase the best of England’s culture and heritage through the development of a broad range of specialist guided tours and behind the scenes experiences and will be sold in the US via tour operators and travel agents. There were 2.9 million overseas visits to the UK from January to July this year from North America alone, an increase of 21% on the same period last year.
Jason Smith, CEO of Marketing Gloucester said:
“This funding will have a huge impact on tourism for the city of Gloucester from the USA market, and will help build on the phenomenal growth the city has shown over the last five years. We are delighted to be amongst the select few destinations that will be receiving the benefits of this significant funding. “
Notes for Editors
Connections Destination Partners
- Destination Plymouth Ltd.
- Destination Bristol Ltd.
- English Riviera BID Company Ltd.
- Essex County Council
- Hampshire County Council
- Lincolnshire County Council
- Marketing Gloucester Ltd.
- Visit Cambridge and Beyond
- Visit Cornwall CIC.
- Visit Hertfordshire Ltd.
- Visit Kent Ltd.
- Visit Nottinghamshire
- Visit Worcestershire Ltd.
About the Discover England Fund
- In November 2015, the Government announced a £40 million Discover England Fund; an unprecedented opportunity for English tourism. The Fund aims to deliver world-class bookable tourism products joined up across geographies and/or themes; including integrated transport solutions to provide an end-to-end customer experience.
- The Fund supports the growth of one of England’s most successful export industries, inbound tourism. Tourism is an industry that delivers jobs and economic growth across the English regions – contributing some £106bn each year to the economy and supporting 2.6 million jobs.
- The Fund supported a number of pilot projects in year one (2016/17) that tested product development approaches. In years two and three, 2017-19, the fund will support:
- A number of large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two year period 2017-2019 that will create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers,
- A smaller funding pot for new one year pilot projects (in year two), and
- Continuation funding for existing year one projects that demonstrated early learnings (in year two).
- VisitBritain/VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
- Working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas, our mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support our growth aspirations. For further information and to access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics visit visitbritain.org or www.visitbritain.com and www.visitengland.com for consumer information.