A grant scheme helping to unlock the tourism potential of historic sites in the region has been given a three-year extension and £500,000 from the North West Development Agency.
The Heritage Tourism Improvement Scheme is managed by the Lancashire and Blackpool tourist board and supported by a Heritage tourism executive project officer and funded by English Heritage as well as the NWDA.
English Heritage has also confirmed a further grant of £75,000 to support the scheme.
The scheme builds on a successful three year programme undertaken by Culture Northwest on behalf of the NWDA and English Heritage, which saw several grants awarded to heritage tourism businesses in order to assist them to adapt to new markets and business opportunities.
A total £350,000 has been invested by the NWDA in the grants scheme to date and this has created six full time equivalent jobs and levered in over £1.2m of other investment.
Funding is available to historic houses, gardens and buildings in the North West which are open to the public and are interested in maximising the contribution they make to the region's visitor economy.
The new round of funding will award grants of up to £40,000 for improvements such as car parking, educational activities and disabled facilities.
It is estimated that heritage tourism could be worth as much as £3bn to England's North West every year.