Visit Herts has secured substantial Government funding to launch an ambitious project to promote Hertfordshire and four other premier UK destinations to the world.

On Friday (26 August 2016) Visit England announced the first successful projects who have succeeded in winning the Discover England Fund, a fund set up to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing tourism industry.

The Gardens & Gourmet project, created by the team behind Visit Herts in partnership with several other UK regions, was one of seven winners announced.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, Chief Executive of Visit Herts said: “We are thrilled that our bid has been successful, and that we have the chance to start celebrating our and our partner regions’ outstanding international gardens, outdoor spaces, and local food and drink offers.

“This bid has been a huge undertaking, and we are delighted to be working with four fantastic regions to develop and market our national treasures to overseas visitors.

“This is a great day and incredibly positive news for tourism.”

The destination teams in Hertfordshire, Cheshire, Essex, Kent and the Peak District worked together to submitted an ambitious bid to package each regions’ outstanding gardens and gourmet offer as bookable products, to give international visitors a new high-quality and sensory experience of rural England.

The project was inspired by the fundamental role that both England’s gardens and produce, and the communities that nourish them, have had to play in shaping the nation’s identity.

With this in mind, Visit Herts proposed creating new bookable packages for international visitors that would not only give them entry to key attractions in each region but also feature insider tips, local recommendations and interactive media to give visitors a truly immersive local experience.

Each partner area will develop its own ‘pilot cluster’ of gardens and gourmet experiences, building on existing industry partnerships to include key attractions, recommendations for places to stay and to eat, and personal recommendations and fresh perspectives on each location from locals.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE continued: “It has been a pleasure to work with and learn about such a diverse range of destinations. From the lavender fields of Hertfordshire to the award-winning afternoon tea at The Grove Hotel, we want more people to know about the beauty of places beyond London.

“More than half of holiday visits made to the UK by international visitors involves going to a park or garden. Spend on these inbound visits amounted to £4billion compared with a total of £2.6billion for domestic holidays and day visits.

VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said the Fund attracted “an exceptional number of high quality bids, far outweighing the allocated funding available for year one”.

“We are pleased to have chosen some excellent winners who we will now be working closely with to build world-class ‘bookable’ tourism products showcasing the best of England to international and domestic visitors. We look forward to continuing the success of the Fund with larger scale bids worth more than £1 million in years two and three.”

For more information about Hertfordshire, please visit www.visitherts.co.uk.