Northern Tourism Growth Fund Update

4 January 2016

A £10m fund for tourism investment in the North of England was announced by Government on the 6 November 2014. The programme aims to deliver an additional 2m visitor nights to the North of England equating to £177m in international visitor expenditure and create 3,280 jobs.

Marketing Lancashire is a lead destination and has contributed to the development of the new programme of tourism-focused activity managed by Visit England.

With expenditure set to reach £20m thanks to an estimated £10m match funding from partners in the public and private sectors, the programme aims to deliver a significant step-change in collaborative working to profile and promote the North of England internationally.  This will be achieved through new, targeted and impactful activity to change perceptions, grow leisure and business visitors, put the assets of the North firmly on the international map and deliver both long term economic impact and the foundations for a lasting legacy for the visitor economy of the North. 

The process began with an invitation from Visit England to attend a workshop for Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) in Manchester in January 2015, attended by Ruth Connor Chief Executive and Anna Izza Head of PR and Communications who provided input into the draft proposal submitted for government approval.

In March 2015 the programme was given the go-ahead and The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

“As part of our long-term economic plan to build the Northern Powerhouse, today the government is committing money to a northern tourism fund. From outstanding areas of natural beauty to some of our great cultural centres so near to one another, the potential for attracting more tourism and jobs to the North of England is huge.

“This fund will see the tourism bodies for the north working together to create a coherent plan that identifies the region’s strengths into a collective offer for the world to see. This is the essence of our plan for a Northern Powerhouse, connecting its strengths so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

The fund is managed by VisitEngland, working closely with international delivery partner VisitBritain and partner organisations including destination management organisations (DMOs) across the North of England. 

Melanie Sensicle was appointed Programme Director and Marketing Lancashire took on a lead role in the ‘content and collateral’ work group, focused on photography, content, marketing materials and media itineraries around the programme’s Northern England is Great campaign.
Marketing Lancashire has committed staff and resource to the delivery of key elements of the programme and to ensure that Lancashire has the highest possible profile throughout its duration and to play a key part in the future developments around the Northern Powerhouse tourism narrative.   

Timeline and Marketing Lancashire engagement/ activity to date

The period June- October was focused on planning. Travel trade events and media events commenced in October and continue up to March 2016.  Resulting media coverage is likely to continue to appear throughout the year.



Visit England Workshop, Manchester


Government gives go-ahead on Visit England programme


Visit England appoints creative agency for Northern Futures Programme and Northern England is Great campaign


Call out to DMOs for content – Hero products, signature experiences and supportive products


Destination update for DMOs, held at Rheged Cumbria


Marketing Lancashire briefed as a lead destination and part of the programme group responsible for content, collateral and itineraries


 First meeting of creative, content and collateral working group, Leeds


Agreed Hero Products for ‘Northern England is Great’ campaign and tested on focus groups in USA and Germany


Content and Photography approved by Visit England and 1st phase new photography commissioned


Destination update for DMOs, held at Railway Museum, York


B2B Travel Trade Opportunity for Northern England’s Stately Homes and Gardens held at Tatton Park Estate, Cheshire.  Northern stately homes and gardens invited to present product to a group of 30 buyers.


Destination update for DMOs, held at Dolphin Centre, Darlington


Marketing Lancashire, Marketing Manchester, Welcome to Yorkshire, Visit Liverpool, Welcome to Cumbria represent Northern England at VMEX in New York (US Travel Media event) and T-Bex in Miami (world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers) to attract press trips in 2016. 

Marketing Lancashire was responsible for the menu choices for the VMEX Visit England sponsored-lunch, for over 130 media guests.  This included a Lancashire cheese plate supplied by 3 award-winning local cheesmakers.


Marketing Lancashire helped organise an itinerary for Chinese Tour Operators – which included a welcome at The Storey institute and tour of Lancaster Castle, as part of a 3 day tour of Northern England. 


Marketing Lancashire leading on key aerial photography to supplement the photography database – to be completed by March 2016


Marketing Lancashire attendance speed-dating International Tour Operators Best of the North, trade event, Harrogate



Destination update for DMOs, Preston


Lancashire representatives attending UK Inbound, Greenwich meeting 40 inbound tour operators

Jan – March

Lancashire included in Vakantiebeurs, the national Holiday Show of the Netherlands, consumer brochure.


Marketing Lancashire, Welcome to Yorkshire and Peak District & Derbyshire representing Northern England at a Munich Press Reception to attracts press trips for 2016.


Marketing Lancashire representing Northern England in Sydney and Brisbane at a series of media events to attract press trips for 2016.

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