North Norfolk tourism body shapes up for the future
06:30 06 March 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
Tourism bosses in north Norfolk are rallying recruits to promote the area as council grants ebb away.
Visit North Norfolk is also slimming down its staff from three to one to cut costs, but hiring the promotional expertise of the regional tourism body.
The group is seeking to recruit a new brand manager for the district, which covers attractions and accommodation providers from Hunstanton to Horsey and inland to Aylsham and the north Broads.
It is a private sector group which has 160 members, and whose grant support from district councils in north and west Norfolk is geared to fall from £40,000 to £12,000 by 2016.
Company secretary and director Robert Simmons said their was a “reluctant acceptance” of the cuts to local authority support, and the group was aiming to increase its membership to compensate.
The tourism industry in the area was “cautiously optimistic” about the future, harnessing the natural and man-made attractions which drew a range of trippers - from families seeking short breaks to niche markets based on bird life and fine foods.
“It was a pretty reasonable season last year and there seems to be slow growth in volume and value,” said Mr Simmons.
The trend was for people to book much later - which was “not good for the nerves of the accommodation providers” - and mostly through websites, which accounted for 30-40pc of bookings a decade ago, but now prompted nearly 90pc.
Visit North Norfolk was formed a year ago, and initial head David Thompson is stepping down to be replaced by a brand manager who will seek to promote the benefits of membership - which include promotion through a revamped website and showing people how good use of social media could “generate loyalty and business.” The marketing would be run by Visit East Anglia, said Mr Simmons.
The chairmanship of the organisation would shortly shift from Michael Timewell of Blue Sky Leisure which runs Kelling Heath and Woodhill Park caravan sites at Weybourne and East Runton to Andrew Hird from Woodland caravan park at Trimingham.
To find out more about the group visit www.visitnorthnorfolk.com.