Many advantages to Broads being named National Park of the Year
- Credit: Archant
Winning the National Park of the Year title would have wide ranging benefits for the Broads at a time when moves are afoot to increase awareness of the region both locally and internationally.
This is the view of tourism bodies, hire boat companies and business owners who said the title would boost tourism and lead to job creation. The Broads was recently named one of the five finalists in BBC Countryfile's National Park of the Year awards alongside Snowdonia, Northumberland, Exmoor and New Forest national parks.
Magazine readers were asked to submit suggestions, which judges then scrutinised before selecting the five nominees.
Members of the public are now asked to nominate their favourite with voting open until March 5.
Broads Authority chief executive John Packman said they were 'excited and thrilled' that the Broads had been shortlisted.
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'This in itself is an honour and a great achievement and of course we want to win this prestigious title.'
He said doing so would bring 'great benefits' to the area.
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'It would increase recognition and wider awareness of the Broads and the special qualities that make it such a unique National Park.
'For businesses in all sectors, the ability to state they operate in the UK's best National Park will bring a commercial advantage.
'It would enable us to increase public knowledge about the challenges that we all face in protecting the area and provides a platform for charities and trusts to seek support and valuable funding.'
Mr Packman said the nomination came at a time when the authority was working on increasing awareness of the Broads National Park.
'Firstly we want to make visitors and residents more aware when they arrive in our National Park, by road, rail or air.'
He said they were also looking to promote the Broads as part of the National Park family to domestic and international visitors.
'One example of this is the Discover England funded project to develop and market unique National Park experiences within nine English parks to the German and Australian travel trade.'
He said being part of the international family of National Parks was 'hugely positive' for the area.
To vote for the Broads visit: BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2018: National Park of the Year
Broads National Park
The complex nature of the Broads means that it is managed under different legislation to that of the other UK National Parks.
In addition to the usual National Park responsibilities the Broads Authority has to maintain the navigation of the waterways. When the interests of conservation or heritage have the potential to conflict with recreation, the Broads Authority has to give appropriate consideration to all factors.
The Broads was first identified as one of 12 potential UK national parks in 1947.
Although it satisfied requirements, it was considered too expensive to maintain the waterways so was not included in the first round of designations in the 1950's.
The Broads was given the same status as a national park in 1988 when the Broads Authority was formed. The decision made by the Broads Authority in 2015 to use the term Broads National Park was upheld in the High Court and Court of Appeal in 2016.
Time to share the news
Waveney River Centre MD James Knight said it was time for 'the amazing wetland landscape of the Broads' to become less of a secret and more of a first choice for people wanting to explore the diverse family of national parks.
He said winning the title would boost tourism to the region.
'The Broads offers a unique opportunity for exploration by water, by bike or on foot and our location - right beside Carlton Marshes' growing nature reserve - is perfect for all three,' he said.
'Out of season visitors make a huge difference to the viability of UK tourism businesses like ours, and the kudos of winning this award would place the Broads firmly on the radar of people who love the great British outdoors at any time of year.
'This will boost winter demand for our lodges with hot tubs, glamping yurts and hotel rooms, increase visitor numbers to the Waveney Inn, and keep the jobs of our 50+ staff secure.'