An exciting new tool to attract a greater number of international visitors to the English coast has been awarded funding by VisitEngland’s Discover England Fund.

Developed by The National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA), ‘England’s Coast’ will focus on attracting German, Dutch and French visitors to coastal destinations including Northumberland, Brighton and Eastbourne, Devon and Cornwall, and the Jurassic Coast.

Using interactive video technology created as part of a previous NCTA project, ‘England’s Coast’ will give holidaymakers the ability to create their own itineraries.

The itinerary builder will enable accommodation, activity and attraction providers, retailers and destinations across the relevant stretches of coastline to add their businesses so that international visitors can create bespoke personalised itineraries.

Jude Leitch, director of Northumberland Tourism, said: “The Northumberland Coast is a jewel in our county’s crown, spectacular whatever the weather. Endless beaches and secret coves, rugged dunes and rock-pools; dramatic cliffs topped with castles, where the ancient Whin Sill splits the land to meet the sea.

We’re delighted to be a part of such an innovative project, and certainly welcome more international visitors to try a Northumberland holiday.”

The scope of the project will also be expanded to target group travel through FIT (Fully Independent Travel) and group itineraries showcasing the very best of England’s coast. A series of online learning programmes will be available to educate international travel trade about the coast, as well as product knowledge and customer service courses for local businesses on the coast.

Speaking about ‘England’s Coast’, NCTA Academy Director Samantha Richardson said: “The award from VisitEngland’s Discover England Fund is a fantastic opportunity to develop and connect product on England’s coast into bookable itineraries for international visitors.

“We now know from our pilot on the East coast that the coast appeals to international visitors once they are made aware of the product and England’s Coast provides a new reason for many seasoned travellers to discover England. Our primary focus will initially be the German market, whilst also continuing to work with the Dutch, building on our East coast project.

“Our research demonstrates that although the number of international visitors to the coast has historically been relatively low, this is largely because international consumers simply aren’t aware of what the coast offers or how to book.

“The project will create bookable short-break itineraries to highlight the very best on the coast and focus on couples travelling without children to encourage trips off-peak and help to reduce seasonality. It supports the wider Vision for the Visitor Economy on the Coast and the project will work with a number of partners from both the public and private sectors, including P&O Ferries, Hertz, Green Traveller, and a number of destination management organisations on the coast.”