Tourism plan for Great West Way through Marlborough gets the go-ahead
Ambitious plans to turn the A4 into the ‘Route 66 of the UK’ have been given the go-ahead, after tourism chiefs bagged a share of a £40m funding pot.
The project is currently operating under the working title of ‘The Great West Way’, and aims to create a world class tourism experience, winning new business and market share for Britain, raising awareness, growing the visitor economy and transforming the visitor experience along and around the route.
The route roughly follows the A4 from London to Bristol, with around a quarter passing through Wiltshire.
‘The Great West Way’ is one of a number of successful projects to receive funding from the £40m Discover England Fund administered by VisitEngland.
It is a central government funded programme of activity aimed at offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right time and will be supported by match funding from partners in the public and private sectors.
VisitWiltshire is leading on the project with a £250,000 grant for activity from October 2016 to 31 March 2017. The project will include:
- Concept testing and case study analysis
- An environmental assessment and economic impact study
- Developing a brand proposition and messaging for the route
- Developing new pilot itineraries for launch in key target markets
Partners supporting the bid include Destination Organisations, Local Enterprise Partnerships and towns along the route, transport operators, arts and heritage organisations, ports of entry, World Heritage Sites and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, tour operators, guiding companies, and a wide range of tourism businesses.
Sally Balcombe, VisitEngland chief executive, said: “We had an exceptionally high number of submissions far outweighing the allocated funding available and following a rigorous applications process we are delighted to work closely with those excellent winners on building world-class ‘bookable’ tourism products showcasing the best of England to international and domestic visitors.
“VisitWiltshire’s project will test the concept of a long-distance touring route in England that will promote places to visit and stay and feature an outstanding, high quality local food and drink offer, providing visitors with a new and exciting experience of rural England.”
David Andrews, CEO of VisitWiltshire said: “We are delighted to have secured funding for this project, and particularly pleased that it has been so well received by so many partners. We now have the opportunity to open up a new touring corridor to encourage visitors to travel west of London, creating compelling road, rail, canal, cycling and walking tourism experiences.
“For an international visitor, this route presents many of England’s most iconic attractions – London, Bristol & Bath, the Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site, Windsor, Castle Combe, Lacock and the Cotswolds.”
“The aim of the project is to encourage visitors to tour and explore more of the region using a range of new itineraries to experience less-well known areas, slowing and lengthening visits. This new project will create a new and exciting addition to England’s existing tourism offer,” added David.