University of East Anglia business students suggest how to develop some of Norfolk’s biggest tourist attractions

Students from the University of East Anglia's Norwich Business School with Martin Goymour, chief exe

Students from the University of East Anglia's Norwich Business School with Martin Goymour, chief executive of the Zoological Society of East Anglia, second from left. Picture: Andi Sapey. - Credit: Archant

Innovative students at Norwich Business School have been putting their skills to use by helping to develop new ideas for some of the county's biggest tourist attractions.

The 240 students from the University of East Anglia teamed up with the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), the organisation behind Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, to suggest ways to improve the business.

Among the suggestions were developing an app to guide and inform visitors, enable them to buy merchandise and track footfall to show management the most and least popular attractions. Another proposal was to provide visitor accommodation in log cabins to attract more visitors and make the attractions less weather-dependent.

ZSEA chief executive Martin Goymour, who picked three winners, said he had been impressed by the suggestions – and the charity would be working to make them a reality.

'The standard was extremely high and very professional,' he said.

'As someone who's been in the business for more than 50 years, it's invigorating to hear new ideas from young people who are looking at issues with a fresh pair of eyes and we will be working on implementing many of them.'

The students were asked to examine budget, forecasting, potential additional income streams and the challenges of covering fixed costs, then suggest solutions.

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The winning students were Joshua Knight, Almoataz Enfies and Timothy Charles.

'Creating the business plan for the zoo was great fun,' said Mr Knight.

'It was much more rewarding working on ideas for a real business than an imaginary one and has prepared us well for leaving university and getting jobs in the outside world.'

Susan Wheeler, lecturer in accounting, said: 'It's vitally important for students to put the theory they learn in the classroom into practice, and there's no better way to do this than by working with a real business and creating ideas that could be implemented in real life.'

Mr Goymour presented trophies to the winners, while each student to participate received a zoo pass.