On Tuesday 13th February, VisitEngland unveiled the latest bids to secure funding from the Discover England Fund (DEF), all of which aim to enhance England’s competitive tourism offer to international visitors.
The Gourmet Garden Trails of England, delivered by destination management specialists Go To Places, was one of two new projects announced.
Building on their successful DEF Year One pilot project (the Gardens & Gourmet visitor pass), Go To Places will work with several destination partners to create bookable itineraries that package beautiful accommodation, artisanal food and drink locations, courses, winery and brewery tours, and stunning English gardens for an international audience.
The project will target visitors from Germany and The Netherlands and take them on a sensory journey around different parts of the country as they explore new tourist trails through both famous and little-known gardens and gourmet sites across rural England.
Locations and organisations currently involved in the project include Kent, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cheshire and The Peak District and Derbyshire. The project will also be supported by leading tourism and travel partners including Eurotunnel, P&O Ferries, The Camping and Caravanning Club and Southeastern.
Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, Chief Executive of Go To Places said: “We are delighted to share this news today, and that we can celebrate the hard work of all of our partners in making this bid possible. Gourmet Garden Trails will showcase the best of rural and coastal destinations.
“Our pilot project in Year One gave us some invaluable learnings and showed the strong interest our target markets have in accessing high quality, authentic food, drink and garden experiences in the UK. We are excited to be creating a brand new bookable tourism product for these markets, and to further showcase the unique rural experiences that England’s countryside can offer.
“Congratulations to all the other successful bidders.”
Go To Places (GTP) is the parent organisation behind the successful destination management organisations Visit Kent and Visit Herts.
In 2016, GTP successfully submitted a bid to the Year One (2016/17) DEF pot for Visit Kent to run a £240,000 pilot project entitled Gardens & Gourmet.
GTP is also involved in a project in partnership with Arts Council England and Turner Contemporary (Margate) to create a new arts trail along England’s South East Coast, and in the US Connections project (led by Destination Plymouth) to encourage more visitors from the US to the UK.
The Gourmet Garden Trails of England is one of 36 bids to have secured funding to date from the Discover England Fund.
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “The Discover England Fund has already delivered exciting new tourism products and these winning bids add to our ambitious plans for tourism in England. Innovative projects such as these, with twin centre holidays and off the beaten track food and garden trails, showcase aspects of England in exciting new ways, getting visitors exploring more of the country.”
The three-year £40million Discover England Fund administered by Visit England was launched in 2016 to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing 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.
In Years Two and Three, the Fund is supporting destination-led collaborative bids worth more than £1million, and a series of pilots. It continues to fund existing Year One projects that demonstrated early success.
For more information about the Discover England Fund go to: https://www.visitbritain.org/discover-england-fund