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Discover England Fund

In November 2015, the Government announced a £40 million Discover England Fund; an unprecedented opportunity for English tourism. The three-year 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 experience.

The three-year funding supports:

Year 1 (2016/17):

Projects and pilots test and develop product development approaches and;

Years 2/3 (2017-19):

A small number of large-scale collaborative projects that create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers; plus

  • a smaller number of new one year projects and pilots and
  • continuation funding for existing round one projects that can demonstrate    early learnings.

For more information visit


York is a part of three marketing projects benefitting from the Discover England Fund:


The Collection, led by England’s Historic Cities* - £1m

Building on a project which gained Discover England funding in year one, The Collection tells the stories of 16 of England’s premiere Historic Cities and for the first time presents them as one product for US visitors. The project focuses on people and events and uses augmented reality to bring the cities and their stories to life, inspiring younger visitors to explore regional England.

A set of itineraries will link the cities by rail so that visitors can plan a multi-destination visit and a hub will suggest places to eat, trips, tours and in-destination travel options. It will simplify the heritage product in regional England making it easier for international visitors to plan and book a trip, and it aims to attract 22,500 additional international visitors to the heritage destinations.

* England’s Historic Cities is a partnership of destinations brought together by common product and interests. Its geographical footprint spans the length and breadth of England and membership comprises 13 of the country’s premiere heritage locations: Bath, Canterbury, Cambridge, Chester, Carlisle, Durham, Greenwich, Lancaster, Lincoln, Oxford, Salisbury, Stratford and York.  For more information click here

Growing Manchester as an International Gateway to the North, led by Marketing Manchester - £1m

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. Working with destinations, travel trade and the tourism industry and targeting the US market, Marketing Manchester will lead a partnership to maximise the potential of the North of England as an international destination and gateway to the North.

This is also an extension a Year One project and will see 3 itineraries created with overnight stays in the region. It will also look at the welcome on arrival for international visitors working with the airport.

Horseracing – The Sport of Kings - £300k

Cheshire West and Chester Council will be leading the project to create experience-led itineraries for visitors from the Middle East, incorporating world-famous race-courses (Ascot, Newmarket, York and Chester) with luxury accommodation offers, in heritage locations.

Download the Heritage Cities App here

What happened in York in Year 1?

Growing new audiences for England’s Heritage Product with the Discover England Fund

Using new technology to bring heritage to life this project set out to develop new content to increase the appeal of England’s heritage with the under 35s in the US. Twelve iconic heritage sites and experiences, one in each of England’s Heritage Cities, are interpreted using techniques such as augmented reality. The new content was turned into a set of tools for the travel trade helping them to sell and showcase the breadth and quality of England’s heritage.

By combining human story telling with augmented/virtual reality products there is the ability able to tell stories through a selection of digital products before, during and post booking process. These new digital products are now available for multi-channel usage, including tour operator websites, travel agents’ desktops and i-phone. Hex Digital are based in London is worked on the programme implentation for the consortium.

York Minster was the spearhead the project for York in Year one, with a brand new APP created for the Minster, making the most of many untold and hidden stories that really bring the Minster to life using AR and video footage.

There has been over 4000 downloads to date.

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For all enquiries, please contact the Visit York Business Engagement Team:

Tel: 01904 554650  |  Email:

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