Supporting the growing trend in ancestral tourism, US Connections, a large-scale collaboration between 13 destinations, led by Destination Plymouth, has developed over 40 new bookable tourism products for international visitors that will be available to book in the lead up to 2020, the year that marks the official 400th commemoration year of the Mayflower.

Building on wider tourism activity planned as part of this Mayflower commemoration year, the US Connections themed tours have been developed specifically in response to research conducted amongst US consumers and travel trade to understand more about what thematic content would appeal to them as international visitors to England. The results confirmed that US visitors enjoy taking guided tours in England and that meeting the locals and ‘sight-doing’, not just ‘sight-seeing’ are some of the things they were most interested in doing. United Allies, Origins of Faith, Migration and ancestral tours were also identified as key areas of interest to US consumers and travel trade. As a direct result of these findings, tour guides, visitor attractions and businesses from across the 13 regions of England have worked together to develop new bookable tours and experiences showcasing history, stories, local culture and often unexplored parts of England relating to these themes.

The new tours, some of which are run by driver guides or local experts, have all been designed in such a way that they will build on these themes of interest and explore further the UK’s special relationship with the US, highlighting the cultural and historical links between the two nations. The bookable products, some of which are also ideal for group travel, include an organ recital of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ in Gloucester Cathedral, where composer John Stafford Smith was a chorister; an ‘American Military Trilogy’ tour with Travel England Tours visiting Prisoner of War Graves, Slapton Sands and Normandy Hill in Plymouth and Devon, and the ‘Pilgrim, Mice and Kings’ tour with photojournalist Sally Outram, who takes visitors to the home villages of Mayflower Pilgrims including Brewster and Bradford.

The ‘US Connections’ project, which aims to make it easier for trade and visitors to find and book tours and experiences online, has listed details of all the tours and experiences on new Connections website. Tours are suitable for groups, FITs and some offer trade rates and commission.

For more information and to see details of all of the new tours and experiences, visit England-Connections.com