Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire is to spearhead a new national campaign worth more than £1.2m to promote the challenging, yet comfortable experience offered by England’s great walking trails to key overseas markets.
The official tourist board has secured £1m from VisitEngland’s £40m Discover England Fund – matched by £200,000 from the private sector – to sell the magic of seven long-distance walking trails, cosy pubs, locally-brewed beers, fine local food and welcoming accommodation providers.
Discover England’s Great Walking Trails will develop the international appeal of the Pennine Way, South West Coast Path, North Downs Way, Hadrian’s Wall, Norfolk Coast Path, Cleveland Way and Cotswold Way for potential visitors from Germany, The Netherlands, France and the USA by:
- Creating walking tour itineraries for each trail, with a selection of three- to 14-day options
- Putting together a programme of trade and travel show visits, PR and media familiarisation visits
- Developing relationships with the travel trade and tour operators to stimulate group bookings in target markets
- Increasing the number of visits from the target markets by two per cent each year to 2024
- Raising the profile and improving England’s image in the target markets, including the variety and quality of the country’s food and drink
It will build on the success of a pilot project led by the South West Coast Path Association during year one of the Discover England Fund initiative, which created bookable walking breaks along the 630 miles long coastal trail through Dorset, Devon and Cornwall for the German and Dutch markets.
“We are delighted to have won this bid from the Discover England Fund to lead a campaign to develop world class walking holidays in England for a wider audience,” said Jo Dilley, the tourist board’s MD.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity to bring in overseas visitors who enjoy challenging walking and want to experience the real English countryside, but like to eat well, sample quality local beers and stay in comfort at the end of the day.
“It’s also sure to appeal to keen walkers from across the UK who want to visit, stay in and explore some of England’s loveliest destinations.
“We’re now looking forward to working with all our public and private sector partners to raise the profile of all seven routes, both internationally and nationally.”
Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive, VisitEngland, said:-
“The quality of submissions to our Discover England Fund reflects the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape.
“The successful projects will boost international and domestic growth, creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England.
“This project will package walking trails up with cosy pubs and accommodation, creating itineraries that will show off England’s hospitality along with its outstanding rural and coastal beauty.”
Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire will work in close partnership with other tourist boards, the South West Coast Path Association, Local Enterprise Partnerships, councils, transport providers, the National Trust, National Parks, the British Beer and Pub Association, Stay in a Pub/Cask Marque, The Camping and Caravanning Club and other businesses to deliver the project from now until March 2019.