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Anglo – American ‘Connections’ project receives funding to bolster Special Relationship

December 8, 2017 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

Plymouth and twelve destination partners have bid successfully for a £500,000 grant from VisitEngland in a collaborative project to develop a range of experiences directed at the US tourism market. ‘Connections’ will produce a series of new, immersive, bookable English-themed visitor experiences specifically for the American market, encouraging visitors to explore England beyond London.http://www.tourismthailand.org/landing/landing_en.html The experiences will aim to tap in to the fascination of the many connections between England and America – a shared history, language, culture and ancestry. In an effort to inspire many visitors to discover their roots and the authenticity of local English culture.

Connections 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 involves a programme of activity 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 timeThe Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.

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.

A large-scale collaboration between 13 destinations, Connections will develop tourism products in the lead up to 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic voyage from Plymouth to the New World. Plymouth along with Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Essex, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Torbay and Worcestershire will look into 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’.

The project also aims to showcase the best of England’s culture and heritage through the development of a broad range of specialist guided tours and behind the scenes experiences and will be sold in the US via tour operators and travel agents. There were 2.9 million overseas visits to the UK from January to July this year from North America alone, an increase of 21% on the same period last year.

Amanda Lumley Executive Director of Destination Plymouth said: “We know from research we have conducted in the US that there is significant demand for Mayflower tours to England – in advance of and during 2020. 21% of members of ancestral societies are very likely to take a Mayflower tour; and there is also significant interest among the wider US population. The Mayflower 400 team here in the UK are on hand to work with tour operators, travel agents and ground handlers to provide advice and destination information to support the development of further tours”.

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