Tourism businesses in the North East could benefit from a 300-mile touring route leading to Northumberland that aims to bring in more European visitors.
The Explorers’ Road will stretch from Herefordshire to Northumberland and has been designed to increase tourism and promote businesses that are located off the beaten track.
Firms located within 30 miles of the A1 are being urged to apply for a support package valued at £3,300 which will help small businesses take online bookings, create video promotions, and turn their venture into a larger “experience”.
Jude Leitch, director of Nurthumberland Tourism said: “We would encourage businesses to take part in it. We have been a partner in the project from the beginning and we want Northumberland to take part in the funding.
“This is one of the largest projects – worth over £1m – to attract German tourists to the UK and explore England outside of London.”
Before the Explorers’ Road ends, tourists will be given a grand tour of Northumberland, providing an additional advantage to local firms.
Information posted on the Northumberland Tourism website describing the project explains: “The Explorer’s Road is an exciting new international tourism product – a 300-mile self-drive touring route stretching from Hertfordshire to Northumberland that roughly follows the A1.
“It features characterful market towns bypassed by the A1 and therefore off the beaten track and largely unknown to international visitors. It presents icons of English culture such as a pint in the pub, afternoon tea, local stories and traditions. And it highlights gardens, stately homes, castles, collections and gorgeous countryside. A few better known historic cities give it a geographic anchor.
“The Explorers’ Road has funding to support ambitious businesses to increase their capabilities so that they can be booked by independent travellers and work with the travel trade.”
The project has been designed to attract tourists from Germany to visit the UK, and corporate partners such as P&O Ferries will promoted the scheme overseas in early 2019.
Germany is being targeted because touring is a popular holiday choice in the country. However, research has found that many German tourists do not know enough about the English countryside to warrant visiting the region.
The Government and VisitEngland have committed £1m to developing the Explorers’ Road project through the Discover England Fund.
Only 120 businesses along the whole 300-mile route will be able to access the funded support, but it is estimated that around 300 could be eligible to apply.
Those wishing to access the fund must be open and available for bookings for at least six months each year and be actively interested in targeted international marketing activities. The businesses must also meet the idea of “Englishness”.