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What:At the recent Destination Britain North America, travel product buyers and suppliers discussed the UK’s latest tourism products. Hosted by VisitBritain, the event also offered insight into how the destination is bolstering incoming visitor count, including through its Discover England Fund.
Why It Matters:Launched in 2016, the three-year Discover England Fund is intended to raise awareness of Britain’s offerings, particularly in food and drink, regional gateways and rail products. And it turns out the project is already proving its worth: Britain experienced record-breaking tourism figures for the first half of 2017 with 19.2 million visits, up 9 percent when compared to the same period last year. This includes 1.9 million U.S. travelers, with a 31 percent increase — who spent a record 1.8 million pounds, up 28 percent.
Fast Facts:- Granted in 2017, the Discover England Fund is a 40-million-pound investment from the government.
- The food and drink initiative highlights offerings in London, Devon and Cornwall, Yorkshire and Scotland.
- The gateways initiative focuses on attracting U.S. visitors to regional Britain, particularly to raise awareness of direct routes to secondary and regional gateways available.
- The rail initiative strives to encourage exploration by rail through new, bookable products.
- VisitBritain forecasts that international visits to the UK will reach 39.8 million with spending as high as 25.7 billion pounds by the end of 2017.
What They Are Saying:“Britain continues to be a desirable destination for international travelers, with a range of world-class tourism products and unique experiences found across our eclectic cities, countrysides and coastal villages,” said Gavin Landry, executive vice president for the Americas at VisitBritain. “By promoting these iconic and unexpected opportunities to American audiences, we are ensuring Britain stays competitive in the global tourism industry.”