December 5 2013 Latest news:
Shaun Lowthorpe, Business editor
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Tourism businesses in Norfolk will get the chance to learn from the head of Visit Cornwall about how to improve its visitor economy at an end-of-season tourism conference next month.
Malcolm Bell is among keynote speakers including Hoseasons managing director Simon Altham, Tom Blofeld of BeWILDerwood and Visit England Enterprise Director Jenny McGee at the Visit Norfolk event at the John Innes Conference Centre, Norwich.
The full-day conference on October 7, a first for Norfolk tourism, will also include workshops and educational sessions with a range of industry experts.
And it follows the release of Visit Norfolk’s first confidence monitor in which tourism businesses called for better brown signage for visitor attractions, more investment in overall marketing for Norfolk as a destination, and improved broadband coverage and speed across the county.
Pete Waters, Visit Norfolk brand manager, said: “We’ve got some really influential and lively speakers, but it’s a great coup to have the head of Visit Cornwall talk to us. When it comes to being top-of-mind as a tourist destination Cornwall is streets ahead of everyone else, so I think we’ll be able to pick up some valuable advice. If we’re to increase our market share then tourism businesses have to start thinking collaboratively and we hope events like this will help foster that. If we can build a collective approach it would be for the greater benefit of everyone involved,” he added.
To tie in with this year’s EDP Adnams Norfolk Food & Drink Festival, the conference’s theme is ‘Tourism & Food: Foundations for the Future’, and will include presentations from Norwich Research Park scientists on their ground-breaking work such as drought-resistant crops and cancer-busting vegetables.
Andrew Hird, acting chairman of Visit Norfolk, said: “The visitor economy is already worth almost £2.8bn a year to the county, but as the promotional umbrella for tourism in the county, we want to focus the industry’s mind on how we can do even better – whether through marketing or improving skills and service.”
The event will also be a networking opportunity for the industry and Visit Norfolk partners who include Visit Norwich, Visit North Norfolk Coast & Countryside, Great Yarmouth Tourist Authority, Broads Tourism and the Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association.
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis has hailed the town’s growing significance as an energy hub after the arrival of a new offshore business bringing the promise of 100 jobs over the next three years.