The Norfolk Broads ‘experiences’ created for national parks’ foreign visitor drive
A first-of-its-kind project to encourage foreign tourists to enjoy more “experiences” in rural England is finding success in the Norfolk Broads.
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.
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.
“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.
Ms Brookes said both countries presented opportunities, with 43% of tourists from both places already venturing outside London on their trips.