Project will showcase the best of England's culture and heritage through development of specialist guided tours and behind the scenes experiences
Today marks the launch of Tour England, an Anglo-American 'Connections' project, dedicated to encouraging movement of visitors across and around England by producing a series of new, immersive, bookable English-themed visitor experiences specifically targeted at the American market.
The large-scale collaboration between 13 destinations led by Destination Plymouth will develop tourism products in the lead up to 2020, a year which marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's historic voyage from Plymouth to the New World, and as a legacy beyond the project as the whole East coast of the USA turns 400 thereafter.
Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Essex, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Plymouth, the English Riviera and Worcestershire will each showcase themes with significant appeal to US visitors, such as Magna Carta and the rule of law, The Mayflower, Virginia and early American colonisation, WW2, US military and the 'Special Relationship.'
Fionn Davenport, esteemed Lonely Planet author and award-winning travel journalist who has been appointed as the product creator for Tour England 'Connections' project will travel across each of the 13 regions of England to explore and experience the product that will appeal to the US market, to help create these itineraries.
Fionn Davenport, Product Creator for Tour England, DEF US Connections Project comments, "I can honestly say I haven't looked forward to a project as much as this one for many years. The opportunity to explore a chunk of England at a granular level is very exciting. I've been a travel writer for a long time, and it is these kinds of experiences, travelling around a country exploring attractions big and small, visiting famous sites and discovering less well-known ones, that remind me I have one of the best jobs in the world."
Amanda Lumley, Executive Director for Destination Plymouth and DEF US Connections Project Director comments, "US Visitors are increasingly seeking immersive experiences; they want sight doing not just sight-seeing and want to be able to steep themselves in local cultures and traditions. We know that US visitors love and want to experience the heritage and history of England - which is why we have set out to develop these bespoke, bookable itineraries."
The new itineraries will be on sale and available for tour operators and agents to add to their portfolios from September 2018. Touring itineraries that bring the themes to life will be available, along with modular components that will enable the travel trade to take the elements that resonate with their customer base.
Alongside the itinerary development, a series of training with the tourism businesses in the regions is underway to ensure that they are able to provide the rates and availability that tour operators need.
'Connections' is one of a number of successful projects to receive funding from the UK Government's £40 million Discover England Fund administered by VisitEngland to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry, by offering world-class English tourism products.
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, http://www.visitengland.com http://www.visitbritain.org/discover-england-fund