England’s Historic Cities’ consortium, which includes Visit County Durham, has secured a £1m investment from the Discover England Fund for an innovative new project to encourage more US visitors to explore regional England.
The Collection brings history to life through story-telling enhanced by augmented reality and will feature itineraries that link the cities by rail, making it easy to plan and book a multi-destination trip. Delivered through the historic cities app, it will act as a central point for local information that highlights places to eat and stay alongside trips, tours and travel options. www.heritagecities.com
Marking the first time that England’s Historic Cities have collaborated in this way, The Collection 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 aims 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 time. The Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.
Ivor Stolliday, Chair of Visit County Durham, said: “Heritage is a huge draw for US visitors to England. The Collection will enable Durham City and the wider county to share our amazing stories through cutting edge technology, and bring Durham wider exposure to this important international market.”
The Collection project is being managed by a board of consortium members. Michelle Gorman, Managing Director of Visit County Durham, is a project board member and lead for the Welcome Programme.
Michelle said: “We are thrilled to have secured investment from the Discover England Fund. England’s Historic Cities represents some of the best experiences that England has to offer to international visitors and we can’t wait to bring them to the attention of the US market. The consortium has a strong track record of working together but this is the most ambitious project we have tackled together. We are grateful for the support of our partners and look forward to showing the results of our work.”
Joining the 13 members of England’s Historic Cities for this project are Truro and Worcester and the City of London. The project is also supported by London & Partners, English Heritage and UK Inbound.
London & Partners Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Cooke, said: “London & Partners is delighted to be partnering with England’s Historic Cities’ consortium to promote England’s rich cultural heritage to an international audience. As both the gateway to these cities and a unique reflection of England's history in its own right, London is central to the visitor experience. We look forward to working with the consortium to help visitors to make the most of London and their onward journeys throughout England.”
Durham is set to gain from a second successful VisitEngland Discover England Fund bid targeting the US market. Working with Marketing Manchester and destinations from across the North, Durham will benefit from the positioning of Manchester Airport as an international gateway to the North. This project will increase the volume of visitors coming through Manchester Airport by creating itineraries that showcase the city, and excursions that open up the North of England.
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe, said: “The calibre of submissions 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.
“England’s Historic Cities’ winning project uses augmented reality to place the user at the heart of England’s history, making visiting a compelling proposition.”
Katharine Capocci T: 03000 261223 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
About England’s Historic Cities
England’s Historic Cities is a partnership of destinations brought together by common product and interests. Its purpose is to exchange knowledge, find solutions to shared challenges, benchmark performance, raise the profile of England’s heritage product and facilitate joint activity, all with the intention of maximising the potential of the cities’ visitor economies.
Its geographical footprint spans the length and breadth of England and membership comprises 13 of the country’s premier heritage locations: Bath, Canterbury, Cambridge, Chester, Carlisle, Durham, Greenwich, Lancaster, Lincoln, Oxford, Salisbury, Stratford and York.
The consortium works closely with a set of strategic partners including UK Inbound, T-stats and VisitBritain. In recent years the group has developed projects and delivered them with investment secured from the UK GREAT Challenge Fund and the Discover England Fund. These projects have enabled the group to forge new relationships with London and Partners, English Heritage and the Historic Houses Association.
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:
About Visit County Durham
Visit County Durham (VCD) is the Destination Management Organisation for County Durham working on behalf of businesses and public agencies. We came into being on 1 April 2006 and are a private, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, with a board of directors including an executive director.
The company’s main funder is Durham County Council. The private sector also contributes financially to our work in return for benefits and activities that meet their needs.
Visit County Durham assists the county to fulfil its potential as one of North East England’s lead destinations, attracting visitors to the region from across the UK and from target overseas markets. Its objective is to ensure that the tourism sector performs to its maximum capacity and brings economic benefits to the county in the form of wealth and job creation. Its broad aims are to attract people to the area and to provide visitors with the best possible experience.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for 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 www.visitbritain.org or www.visitbritain.com and www.visitengland.com for consumer information.
Published: 13, October, 2017
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