England’s Historic Cities to benefit from £1m investment
England’s Historic Cities consortium which includes Oxford through the local Destination Management Organisation (DMO) Experience Oxfordshire, has secured a £1m investment from the Discover England Fund for an innovative new project to encourage more US visitors to explore regional England. The Collection brings history to life through story-telling enhanced by augmented reality and will feature itineraries that link the cities by rail, making it easy to plan and book a multi-destination trip. Delivered through the historic cities app, it will act as a central point for local information that highlights places to eat and stay alongside trips, tours and travel options.
Marking the first time that England’s Historic Cities have collaborated in this way, The Collection 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 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. The Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.
Hayley Beer-Gamage, CEO of Experience Oxfordshire, forms part of the Project Board for The Collection project and said “Heritage is a huge draw for US visitors to England. The Collection will enable Oxford and the wider County to share our amazing stories through cutting edge technology, and bring wider exposure to this important international market. This is a great opportunity for us to use new technology to attract visitors to our fantastic destination and a very exciting project for us to be part of.”
The project is being managed by a board chaired by consortium member Ruth Connor, CEO of Marketing Lancashire. Ruth said “We are thrilled to have secured investment from the Discover England Fund. England’s Historic Cities represents some of the best experiences that England has to offer to international visitors and we can’t wait to bring them to the attention of the US market. The consortium has a strong track record of working together but this is the most ambitious project we have tackled together. We are grateful for the support of our partners and look forward to showing the results of our work.”
Joining the 13 members of England’s Historic Cities for this project are Truro and Worcester and the City of London. The project is also supported by London & Partners, English Heritage and UK Inbound.
London & Partners Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Cooke, said “London & Partners is delighted to be partnering with England’s Historic Cities’ consortium to promote England’s rich cultural heritage to an international audience. As both the gateway to these cities and a unique reflection of England’s history in its own right, London is central to the visitor experience. We look forward to working with the consortium to help visitors to make the most of London and their onward journeys throughout England.”
VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe, said “The calibre of submissions 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. England’s Historic Cities winning project uses augmented reality to place the user at the heart of England’s history, making visiting a compelling proposition.”
For more information contact:
Martin Walker Phone: 01865 686433 /07801740353
Notes to Editors:
Experience Oxfordshire is the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Oxfordshire. We are a not-for-profit partnership organisation committed to the promotion, management and development of Oxfordshire as a great destination to live, work, visit and do business. We have a growing partnership network of businesses spanning all parts of the visitor economy, and through effective collaboration we are all working to ensure Oxfordshire becomes a leading destination for tourism, culture and business. Experience Oxfordshire benefits from the support of its valued Board Members, who all work on a voluntary basis for the organisation, providing expertise from a variety of backgrounds.
About England’s Historic Cities
England’s Historic Cities is a partnership of destinations brought together by common product and interests. Its purpose is to exchange knowledge, find solutions to shared challenges, benchmark performance, raise the profile of England’s heritage product and facilitate joint activity, all with the intention of maximising the potential of the cities’ visitor economies.
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.
The consortium works closely with a set of strategic partners including UK Inbound, T-stats and VisitBritain. In recent years the group has developed projects and delivered them with investment secured from the UK GREAT Challenge Fund and the Discover England Fund. These projects have enabled the group to forge new relationships with London and Partners, English Heritage and the Historic Houses Association.
About the Discover England Fund
• In November 2015, the Government announced a £40 million Discover England Fund; an unprecedented opportunity for English tourism. The 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 customer experience.
• The Fund supports the growth of one of England’s most successful export industries, inbound tourism. Tourism is an industry that delivers jobs and economic growth across the English regions – contributing some £106bn each year to the economy and supporting 2.6 million jobs.
• The Fund supported a number of pilot projects in year one (2016/17) that tested product development approaches. In years two and three, 2017-19, the fund will support: o A number of large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two-year period 2017-2019 that will create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers, o A smaller funding pot for new one-year pilot projects (in year two), and o Continuation funding for existing year one projects that demonstrated early learnings (in year two).
• VisitBritain/VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) • Working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas, our mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support our growth aspirations. For further information and to access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics visit www.visitbritain.org or www.visitbritain.com and www.visitengland.com for consumer information.