Saturday 6th February 2016
Virgin Joins Forces With Visit England To Boost Tourism In Flood Regions

***PRESS RELEASE FROM VIRGIN TRAINS***

Virgin Trains is offering an exclusive discount of 30% off advance fares to areas affected by recent flooding as part of a three-month promotion starting next week.

The operator has teamed up with VisitEngland to boost tourism and support the #Openforbusiness message in Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Northumberland, to encourage people to visit the outstanding national parks, historical cities and cultural places of interest.

The partnership comes four days after the Government’s announcement of the Flood Recovery Fund and a new £1 million ‘Staycation’ marketing campaign to promote tourism in the North of England.

Virgin Trains, which operates passenger services on the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines, aims to boost visitor numbers following the damage caused by storms Desmond, Eva and Frank in December. The offer is timed to coincide with the February half-term holiday and Easter break in March.

Discounted fares are available from Tuesday 9 February on direct Virgin Trains services to destinations including Carlisle, Lancaster, Oxenholme, Penrith and Preston on the west coast route and Berwick-upon-Tweed, Doncaster, Leeds, Morpeth and York on the east coast. These fares will be available three weeks before the date of travel.

Destination organisations along the east and west coast are also pulling together a raft of late availability offers and deals to help customers make the most of this great travel offer.

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director at Virgin Trains on the west coast, said: “We’re proud to be supporting VisitEngland’s campaign, showing that the affected regions are very much open for business. Working together with Virgin Trains East Coast shows our commitment to the communities we serve - we’re really keen to get behind them by encouraging people to visit these fantastic counties. We hope as many people as possible travel and show their support to bring back tourism.”

David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on the east coast route said: “This is a fantastic initiative to bolster areas affected by flooding and put them back on the map for visitors. As our head offices are in York we have seen firsthand the damage the storms caused to communities and businesses this winter. Indeed we were one of many businesses affected as our offices were flooded. York is just one of the wonderful destinations on our route which is linked by some of Britain’s most breathtaking scenery. From the Flying Scotsman season at York’s National Railway Museum to the great shopping on offer in Leeds or the spectacular backdrop of Berwick-upon-Tweed, there are plenty of great reasons to visit and we hope customers take advantage of this offer.”

Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive at VisitEngland, said: “With half term and Easter on the horizon there is no better time to give the Great British public a reason to book their short break or holiday, especially to areas recently affected by the adverse weather. We want to emphasise that they are very much open for business. Tourism is an essential part of local economies and incentives such as this travel offer will give these areas a much-needed boost.”

Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, said: "I very much welcome this initiative by Virgin Trains which will encourage even more people to visit the North and see its stunning countryside, vibrant cities and world-class attractions.“The Government is actively supporting our tourism businesses as they recover from the recent floods and showing that the area is open for business. This new deal will encourage many more people to enjoy a break in the North over the coming weeks.”

Virgin Trains West Coast offer

The 30% discount is available on Advance fares only and can be booked from Tuesday 9 February until Tuesday 1 March 2016.

The offer is available on direct services along the West Coast to Carlisle, Lancaster, Oxenholme, Penrith, Preston, Warrington and Wigan from Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, Coventry, Milton Keynes, London Euston, Watford and Wolverhampton for travel between 10 February – 13 May 2016. For more information about the offer on Virgin Trains West Coast, and to book tickets, visit: www.virgintrains.com/visitengland

Virgin Trains East Coast offer

The 30% discount is available on Advance fares only and can be booked from Tuesday 9 February until Tuesday 1 March 2016.

The offer is available on direct services along the East Coast to Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Bradford Forster Square, Brough, Doncaster, Durham, Harrogate, Hull, Keighley, Leeds, Morpeth, Northallerton, Selby, Shipley, Skipton, Wakefield Westgate and York travel between 10 February – 13 May 2016. For more information about the offer on Virgin Trains East Coast, and to book tickets, visit: www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/visitengland

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