The new Discover England-funded project is using the A1 as the backbone for a major new East of England Touring Route tracing the 300-mile journey from London to Northumberland.
The route will unite well-known destinations with those off the beaten track, developing itineraries to include attractions, accommodation options, places to eat and activities to provide a rich cultural and quintessentially English experience.
One of the proposed itineraries submitted with the successful bid included Stamford, Grantham and key visitor sites along the A1, confirmed Andrew Norman, the council’s Head of Visitor Economy. He said: “It’s an extremely important project with huge potential. We put a lot of work into identifying what a great offer we have here and we are delighted to be part of it.
“We will all be working together to promote the whole route, with us focused on individually promoting the South Kesteven stretch. We believe that it will have huge appeal for international visitors and deliver major benefits for our tourism sector.
“Behind the project is the lure of experiencing the real England, and we have that in spades, from the Georgian delights of Stamford to Isaac Newton’s birthplace, Easton Walled Gardens’ spectacular rescue from dereliction and everything from enchanting castles to village tea rooms.
“All that information went into the national bid, which is being managed by NewcastleGateshead Initiative. We are now awaiting news of how we move on to help our businesses benefit from new international markets.”
Germany is 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 travellers as well as tour operators and travel agents who are influential with German consumers.
Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, 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.”
The three-year £40 million Discover England Fund runs from 2016-19. It’s designed to improve England’s competitive tourism offer by building world-class, bookable tourism products and getting them to the right international customers at the right time, benefitting the domestic market and making it easier to explore the country.
In years two and three, the fund is supporting destination-led collaborative bids worth more than £1million, and a series of pilots. It continues to fund existing year one projects that demonstrated early success.