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Gloucestershire Business News

Local tourism boost as Uncover The Cotswolds project awarded recovery funding

Cotswolds Tourism has been awarded funding from VisitEngland for its successful Uncover the Cotswolds project.

The project - encompassing the wider Cotswolds, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Forest of Dean and Wye Valley - is to benefit from year 5 funding from the UK government's £40 million Discover England Fund, administered by VisitEngland.

Since 2018, Uncover the Cotswolds has brought together authentic local experiences from across the wider region into a new travel trade website, to enable tour operators to have easily bookable products to choose from.

With the impact of Covid-19, the project will now refocus activity and support, to help businesses benefit from the domestic market, as well as plan ahead for reaching a wider global audience in the long term.

A key part will be encouraging businesses to get bookable via the local destination websites and Tourism Exchange Great Britain (TXGB), VisitEngland's new one-stop online platform which will help raise awareness of the range of products and help businesses increase bookings. Longer-term, the project is aimed at driving inbound tourism with a focus to attract visitors from the Nordic markets, Italy and Spain, dispersing visitors across the wider region and providing them with greater access to authentic local experiences

Sally Graff, project leader for Cotswolds Tourism, said: "I am delighted that we have secured this funding from VisitEngland and I would like to thank everyone involved in our successful bid. We will focus on encouraging all visitors to explore out of season, including our lesser-known places in the wider region such as Witney, Woodstock and Cirencester, as well as unique bookable experiences that can connect visitors, bringing the area to life."

Cllr Tony Dale, cabinet member for economy and skills at Cotswold District Council, said: "This money will help us appeal to a wider audience and encourage businesses to bring tourists in from new destinations such as the such as the Nordics, Italy and Spain. It will herald a new era of booking online and using digital products."

David Jackson, manager of Marketing Cheltenham, said: "This is a great opportunity for Cheltenham businesses to work together with other destinations across Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire to encourage more visitors to stay in the area. Cheltenham is already a popular gateway to access and explore the Cotswolds, so it's great to be able to build on this. It's also a really timely opportunity to provide additional, targeted support and guidance to businesses to help them through these challenging times and to continue to adapt to the changing market conditions."

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