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Bids invited for £40m tourism fund

11 May 2016 by
Bids invited for £40m tourism fund

VisitEngland is inviting bids for the £40m Discover England fund announced as part of last year's spending review.

It is encouraging destinations and businesses to submit bids for projects up to £250,000, which can be completed by 31 March 2017.

With more travellers researching and booking travel online, the tourist body is particularly keen to hear about digital projects that might encourage visitors into England's regions.

VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe said: "Tourism is a major job creator and the 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."

According to VisitEngland, the strongest tourism growth is coming from markets with little knowledge of England, particularly of the opportunities outside London.

Balcombe added that the fund would be used for projects that encourage visitors beyond the capital.

She said: "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.

"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 minister David Evennett said that the country had more than just London's great attractions to offer.

"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," he said.

Full details of the fund can be found at www.discoverenglandfund.org

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