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Theresa May announces £40m fund to boost post-Brexit UK tourism

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August 30 2016

Theresa May announces £40m fund to boost post-Brexit UK tourism


Jessica Elgot Political reporter – The Guardian


Theresa May has pledged Brexit will create “real opportunities for growth” in the tourism sector as she announced a new £40m fund for tourism projects across the country, though just one of the projects which have won funding so far is based in the north of England.

Ahead of the August bank holiday weekend, the prime minister also announced several new schemes to attract visitors to Britain, including relaxing licensing laws to allow B&Bs to offer a welcome drink to guests and to pick visitors up from train stations.

The first grants from the £40m Discover England fund have been awarded to projects and organisations in different geographic areas intended to attract tourism outside of London.

Of the seven announced so far, five are based in the south of England, including Kent, Surrey and Devon, though of those, Golf Tourism England runs trips across the UK, as does Gloucestershire-based Compass Holidays, which has been funded to develop its tourism app. Birmingham-based Leopold Marketing won funding with the brief to develop tourism outside London and Scotland.

Just one of the projects is based in the north of England, UK Countryside Tours in Derbyshire, which runs tours across the country including Yorkshire, Cumbria and the Peak District. A DCMS spokesman said more projects which had won funding would be announced in due course.

As well as the relaxation of licensing laws, Number 10 announced a new government-backed deal with train companies will offer visitors the ability to book five scenic rail itineraries around the UK.

May said in a statement that tourism would be an even more vital industry after the UK leaves the EU. “The British people’s decision to leave the European Union creates real opportunities for growth and we will work in close partnership with the tourism industry, to ensure it continues to thrive as negotiations on the UK’s exit progress,” she said.

“We are making it easier for visitors to travel beyond London and experience all of the world-class attractions the UK has to offer, to make sure the benefits of this thriving industry are felt by the many and not the few.”

Karen Bradley, the new secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said the initiative would “further strengthen tourism outside of London to ensure that growth from the sector is enjoyed right across the country.”

The sharp drop in the pound post-EU referendum has been a bonus for foreign tourists, making holidaying in the UK cheaper. Last week it was reported that tax-free spending had increased from visitors from Asia and the US. Shipping company Global Blue reported a 7% year-on-year increase in UK international tax-free shopping in July.

Communities minister, Andrew Percy, has also announced a scheme to create 20 new coastal community teams in seaside towns across the UK in order to boost tourism for Britain’s beaches.

“Across our Great British Coast we’ve got an amazing variety of resorts to be proud of from Cleethorpes to Brighton and beyond,” Percy said. “People in those areas can now come together and bid for government cash to revive tourist attractions to their former glory.”

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