Can Norfolk benefit from national bid to increase foreign visitor numbers?

PUBLISHED: 18:18 10 October 2012

Tourism chiefs face the challenge of drawing the forecasted increase in foreign visitors to Norfolk.

Tourism chiefs face the challenge of drawing the forecasted increase in foreign visitors to Norfolk.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010

Tourism chiefs have spoken of the challenges they face in drawing foreign visitors to Norfolk, as a national campaign was launched to attract more international tourists to Britain.

VisitBritain wants to bring in 40 million foreign tourists a year by 2020 - a 3pc growth each year.

Their report believes the American market could increase by 50pc by 2020, but sees the greatest growth coming from China and the Middle East.

Keith Brown from Visit East Anglia said around 18pc of tourists staying in the region’s accommodation at the moment came from abroad.

He said: “When visitors come from these emerging markets they look for the total English experience. We have to and will make sure their itineraries include Norfolk and Suffolk. What we have here is the real England.”

Peter Williamson, chairman of the Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association (NTAA) and owner of the Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth, said it would be challenging to attract the foreign visitors.

“Once they come to this country it is very difficult to move international tourists away from the hotspots of Oxford, Windsor and London,” he said.

But Nick Bond from Visit Norwich said: “The Norwich area has incredibly strong creativity, heritage, culture, arts and music and we know for a fact, following press feedback, visitors find the city welcoming and friendly. The UNESCO City of Literature accolade which was awarded to Norwich this year is a huge achievement; and one example which will bring many benefits to the city of Norwich as well as international recognition.

“We continue to shout about all that the city offers, working in partnership with businesses and organisations to convey to the world that our city over delivers, that its historical importance is huge, its creativity off the scale and that investment in tourism is key to achieving maximum growth.”

VisitBritain’s campaign hopes to increase foreign visits by improving the country’s image abroad and making it easier to visit.

It wants to build on the exposure the UK had from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues said: “This summer has shown what the country can do when we are united in a common cause.

“This country showed passion, professionalism, drive and energy to stage the best-ever Olympic and Paralympic Games. The test now is whether we can maintain this to create wealth and jobs through a major tourism drive.”

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  • We need more things to attract them and get them to stay more than a day or 2..., especially when it comes to sports things as mentioned- what good quality sport is there for a visitor to spectate at around Norwich? There's the football (with that sport's problems of racism and diversity issues), while the cricket at Horsford and a bit of rugby aren't played at very high level. The cycle thing was a bit of a bore to watch. Lets have some decent competitive high quality sport to watch, people will come for it.

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    john smith

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

  • They should try visiting Kings Lynn - loads of foreign visitors there.

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    Betty Swallocks

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • Talk about tourist benefits to Norwich - the only ones you`ll see there are foreigners on benefits !

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    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

  • The real England??? gone forever...multiculturalism k*lled that one off, something the Chinese and middle-eastern countries have yet to embrace...or even want to

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    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

  • What visitors want is to see the medieval walls , churches, cathedral, castle and buildings of Norwich. But they have to put up with the medieval transport infrastructure, scowling attitudes to service and penny-pinching hotels. So, why choose us when they can get a friendly, warm welcome in France or Italy? There doesn't seem to be a coherent policy on anything in Norwich - first we demolish many medieval treasures and then we build a road around the rest. Nightmare! We should be competing with York who embraced the idea of cherishing visitors and providing interesting things for them to do and see.

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    Thursday, October 11, 2012

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