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The Norfolk Broads ‘experiences’ created for national parks’ foreign visitor drive

Sailing is one of the experiences on offer in the Norfolk Broads through the English National Park Experience Collection. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sailing is one of the experiences on offer in the Norfolk Broads through the English National Park Experience Collection. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A first-of-its-kind project to encourage foreign tourists to enjoy more “experiences” in rural England is finding success in the Norfolk Broads.

Tourists will also be able to take a boat ride with Wherry Yacht Charter. Picture: ArchantTourists will also be able to take a boat ride with Wherry Yacht Charter. Picture: Archant

The English National Park Experience Collection aims to bring together tourism businesses in some of the country’s lesser-known national parks to create “experience” packages for foreign visitors.

Funded by Discover England, the project is focusing on places including the Norfolk Broads and the South Downs and provides sales and marketing support for businesses who take part to craft and promote their experiences.

Deborah Brookes, a consultant offering business support as part of the English National Park Experience Collection, spoke about the programme at a Visit the Broads members’ meeting at Ormesby Broad on Thursday.

Norfolk Outdoor Adventures will be offering paddleboarding  experiences on the Broads through the English National Park Experience Collection. Picture: Norfolk Outdoor AdventuresNorfolk Outdoor Adventures will be offering paddleboarding experiences on the Broads through the English National Park Experience Collection. Picture: Norfolk Outdoor Adventures

She said 400 businesses in nine national parks across England had applied to take part, with 140 businesses so far accepted onto the project.

Experiences on offer in the Broads including boating with Broads Sailing and Herbert Woods, wherry yacht chartering, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) adventures and themed walking tours, as well as accommodation deals at places such as the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, Norfolk Cottages and Suffolk Holiday Cottages.

Ms Brookes said: “It is a big collection of memorable experiences that tell the stories of our landscapes and their people.

The Maids Head hotel in Norwich is among the Norfolk accommodation providers involved in the English National Park Experience Collection. Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Maids Head hotel in Norwich is among the Norfolk accommodation providers involved in the English National Park Experience Collection. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“Around 84% of foreign tourists stay in London and do not venture into rural locations, so we are working together for the first time as English national parks to promote rural tourism.”

She added: “What is great about the Broads is you have a unique landscape, history and heritage that none of the other national parks have. With a lot of the other national parks there are a lot of fields, sheep and dry stone walls, but to have such wonderful wildlife and experiences like sailing in the Broads makes it a very unique product.”

The markets being targeted by the programme are Australia, the market most likely to visit a national park with a fifth (19%) of tourists from the country already doing so, and Germany, a market worth £1.5bn with 8% of tourists already visiting a national park.

Defra minister Lord Gardiner with Broads Authority apprentices with the first Broads National Park sign, installed at Beccles Railway Station in March 2017. Picture: ArchantDefra minister Lord Gardiner with Broads Authority apprentices with the first Broads National Park sign, installed at Beccles Railway Station in March 2017. Picture: Archant

Ms Brookes said both countries presented opportunities, with 43% of tourists from both places already venturing outside London on their trips.

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