Government invests £40m to boost England’s tourism sector
A £40m fund is set to be made available to towns and cities across England as part of an aim to deliver new tourism outside London.
The Government fund will also ease travel around Britain, help visitors from abroad as well as Brits holidaying at home to discover tourism opportunities across the country.
The first grants from the £40m Discover England fund have been awarded to projects and organisations in different geographic areas to join up and create offers that can attract tourism outside of London.
Funding will go on projects to showcase the country’s cultural and sporting assets, including music festivals, championship golf courses and England’s cuisine.
2015 was a record-breaking year for UK tourism - with over 36 million overseas visitors spending £22.1bn. The tourism industry and the Government are collaborating to build on this success to generate more investment and jobs right across the country.
The Government has also published its Tourism Action Plan which includes a series of new initiatives and measures to help Britain out-compete other major tourism destinations, welcoming more international visitors and see more “staycations” as Brits holiday at home.
The new initiatives include a strategy to make travel easier with a new tourism rail offer, including five new easy to book rail itineraries to help tourists travel around the UK. The Government in association with VisitBritain and the Rail Delivery Group will launch a competition for five pairs of people to road-test the itineraries.
The action plan will also address the industry’s seasonal nature through an apprenticeship scheme that allows training to be completed over 16-18 months rather than 12, with breaks included.
In addition, the Government is set to ‘cut the red tape’ in regards to regulations by changing licensing to allow B&Bs to offer a welcome drink, and modify vehicle licensing will allow B&B owners to pick up visitors from train stations.
This work is supported by industry partners including a £10.2m partnership between VisitBritain and Expedia to market Britain abroad to key markets including USA, Germany and France.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Tourism is vitally important to the UK and the sector goes from strength to strength. Our stunning scenery, centuries-old monuments and cultural traditions continue to draw visitors from both home and abroad.
“The British people’s decision to leave the European Union creates real opportunities for growth and we will work in close partnership with the tourism industry, to ensure it continues to thrive as negotiations on the UK’s exit progress.
“We are making it easier for visitors to travel beyond London and experience all of the world-class attractions the UK has to offer, to make sure the benefits of this thriving industry are felt by the many and not the few.
“We will make sure Britain is even more attractive, accessible and welcoming to visitors.”
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