A 20.12% holiday discount scheme has been launched by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt as part of a major campaign to boost domestic tourism over the next three years.

The campaign, co-ordinated by VisitEngland, aims to generate an extra 5.3 million short break nights, create 12,000 new jobs and generate £480 million in extra tourism spend by capitalising on the London 2012 Olympic Games.

It will start with a heavyweight TV advertising campaign to run from February throughout 2012. This will be backed by £4 million funding from the government’s Olympic budget.

The advertisements will  promote a website with thousands of holiday savings of at least 20.12% available with UK hotels and tour operators in England, Scotland and Wales.

Travel partners already signed up to the scheme include Hoseasons, Bourne Leisure, Superbreak, The Eden Project and The Coach Tourism Council and it is hoped all major hotel chains will join.

Hunt, secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, announced the scheme at World Travel Market’s opening ceremony. He said: “This is the opportunity of a lifetime to support what has too often been a poor relation in tourism priorities – our domestic tourism industry.”

He added: “Our intention is to get the same proportion of people holidaying in the UK as go abroad for their vacation.”

Hunt said companies would not hike up prices in order to discount them by 20%. “We are confident that won’t happen,” he said.

Discount codes will be available through a website launching in February featuring a list of co-operating partners.

The campaign was launched on the same day as the 8,000 mile 2012 Torch Relay route was revealed. Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell, who also spoke at the opening of WTM 2011, described the games as “an advert for the city”.

“It’s not just the two weeks of Olympics and two weeks of Para-Olympics; it has a bigger impact than that and we will get tourists coming here (as a result),” he said.