VisitEngland is to host the first ever English Tourism Week from March 10 next year.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt recently announced an additional £3 million in funding for VisitEngland to boost domestic tourism in 2012.  This money will support the delivery of an initial £10m marketing campaign which will break in January 2012 followed by TV advertising scheduled for March.

The organisation is also working to secure funding from the Regional Growth Fund on behalf of destinations throughout the country. 

The bid is for £20 million and will fund a three year project called Growing Tourism Locally.  Results from the bid are expected at the end of the month.

Speaking at the Travel Convention, VisitEngland head of corporate communications Sarah Long said there had been an increase in the numbers of people holidaying in the country for the first six months of the year.

She said April had been the best for five years, more than 8% up on 2010. The figures are not as high as 2009 levels but far ahead of pre-recession levels.

She said: “Unfortunately May was down 8% but overall for the year so far we are up. And spending by those holidaymakers is up 10%.”

Long added that camping, caravanning and stays in larger hotels were all doing well while B&Bs were suffering, perhaps to the difficulty of using online to take advantage of last minute booking trends.

She stressed that the positive figures should be considered in the context of the double bank holiday in April and unusually warm weather earlier this year.

VisitEngland’s chief executive James Berresford said: “We’ve had a good start to the year but we can’t ignore the fact that consumer confidence is down, while the increased spending levels we have seen are largely inflationary, and are not necessarily benefiting businesses whose operating costs are also rising. 

“We know that the trend to holiday at home is still popular but we have to work very hard to sustain this and ensure that Brits are inspired by the events of 2012 to choose England next year as their number one holiday destination.”