A partnership of destinations from Hertfordshire to Northumberland, including the Tees Valley, has secured a £1m investment from the Discover England Fund to encourage more German visitors to explore Eastern England.
The money will be spent on creating a new 300-mile touring route between London and Northumberland that combines well-known visitor destinations with those that are off-the beaten track.
New itineraries will be developed that bring together attractions, accommodation options, places to eat and activities to create a route that is culturally rich and quintessentially English.
Dave Budd, Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet member for culture, said: “From the river that knits our region together and the unmistakable Roseberry Topping to our action-packed activities and industrial heritage, Tees Valley really is something special. We are the perfect destination for tourists looking for a trip with a difference.
“This Discover England Funding for the East of England Touring Route will help new international visitors find out what makes Tees Valley tick while providing a welcome boost to businesses and our vital tourism industry. I look forward to working to promote our area further in this exciting scheme.
“In this area we already have many industrial and commercial links with Germany, not least through our town-twinning arrangements starting with Germany as a target market makes good sense.”
The project is being led by destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) working with other destination organisations and local authorities up and down the country.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NGI, said: “We are delighted to secure this funding and to be working closely with partners on this exciting project.
“The touring route will bring economic benefits to the region and is a great opportunity for businesses to attract international visitors.
“We know that Eastern England has so much to offer and we look forward to creating a route that showcases our history and countryside, our market towns and cities, and shines a light on a wonderful part of the country.”
Germany has been chosen as the target market because touring is a familiar and well-loved holiday choice for Germans and because there is good travel connectivity with Eastern England.
The project has an emphasis on helping businesses to operate in the international market and make them bookable by independent travelers as well as tour operators and travel agents who are influential with German consumers.
The East of England Touring Route is one of a number of successful projects to receive funding from the UK Government’s £40m 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. It’s a central government-funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.