THE South Downs is to benefit from a share of £1 million to help it attract more visitors from other countries.

It is one of nine national parks in the country to benefit from the funding.

The move is part of a two-year project called Make Great Memories in England’s National Parks.

The cost of the scheme is covered by the Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund.

The project will specifically target visitors from Australia and Germany.

The aim is to make it easier for them to plan visits, find experiences and book their trips to England’s national parks.

This will include developing branding, showing off the experiences on offer and getting local businesses involved.

There are also plans to develop partnerships with the travel trade in the two counties.

South Downs National Park Authority chairwoman Margaret Paren said: “National parks are the most iconic, awe-inspiring landscapes England has to offer.

“They have distinct cultures, traditions, food, rich archaeology and nature.

“Unlike many other countries our national parks are free to enter and relatively easy to reach from nearby towns and cities.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the South Downs National Park to the wider world, help more people discover the fantastic experiences they can have here, and support local businesses.”

England’s national parks are major contributors to the tourism economy, attracting more than 94 million visitors a year and accounting for almost a quarter of spending on rural tourism.

VisitEngland is working on a programme of activity to ensure England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry.

It will be allocating grants from the Discover England Fund.

Chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “The calibre of submissions reflects the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape.

“The successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England.

“This project will draw domestic city dwellers and international visitors to discover more of England’s stunning countryside.”

Sarah Fowler, Chief Executive Peak District National Park stated:

“Visit England’s Discover England Fund gives us an exciting opportunity to showcase the English National Parks special qualities to a broader international market. Over 90% of visitors to our National Parks are domestic, this programme will be instrumental in promoting English National Parks to new audiences and grow our global support for the enjoyment and care of these iconic, quintessentially English living landscapes. All of which will benefit our domestic visitors and rural economy.”