Press release

Government invests £40 million and cuts red tape to boost tourism across England

First Discover England fund recipients announced to encourage tourists to travel beyond London as Government publishes Tourism Action Plan

Towns and cities from across England will benefit from a £40 million fund to deliver new tourism outside London and ease travel around Britain, helping visitors from abroad as well as Brits holidaying at home to explore the wealth of tourism opportunities across the country.

The announcement comes as we go into the August bank holiday – the perfect time to enjoy the world class attractions the UK has to offer.

The first grants from the £40 million 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 shine a spotlight on some of the country’s great cultural and sporting assets, from music festivals to championship golf courses and our world-class cuisine. This investment in tourism and support for local businesses will ensure that Britain remains a world beating destination for visitors from across the globe.

2015 was a record-breaking year for UK tourism - with over 36 million overseas visitors spending £22.1 billion. The tourism industry and the Government are working hand in hand to build on this success to generate more investment and jobs right across the country.

The Government has also today, Friday 26 August, 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 than ever before and see more “staycations” as Brits holiday at home.

The new initiatives include:

  • Making travel easier with a new GREAT tourism rail offer, including five new easy to book rail itineraries to help tourists seamlessly 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.
  • Addressing the industry’s seasonal nature through a flexible apprenticeship scheme that allows training to be completed over 16-18 months rather than 12, with breaks included.
  • Cutting red tape with sensible regulation by changing licensing to allow B&Bs to offer a welcome drink, and modifying 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.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said:

With world-class museums, fantastic heritage sites and stunning countryside the UK has a lot to offer tourists - from both home and abroad.

Through the Discover England Fund and working with the industry, I look forward to helping further strengthen tourism outside London to ensure that growth from the sector is enjoyed right across the whole country.

This comes as the Communities Minister Andrew Percy sets out plans to establish 20 new coastal communities teams in our seaside towns, that are so vital to the tourist economy. This will build on the work of the 118 team of volunteers already working to make their communities better places in coastal towns around the country.

Coastal Communities Minister Andrew Percy said:

Across our Great British Coast we’ve got an amazing variety of resorts to be proud of from Cleethorpes to Brighton and beyond.

People in those areas can now come together and bid for Government cash to revive tourist attractions to their former glory.

We’ve got sight-seeing gems that are a match for anywhere in the world and I’d urge families to take a trip down to the seaside to discover them.