Visit East Anglia aiming for a second Friendly Invasion with tours to target US visitors

USAF airmen at Rackheath during the Second World War.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

USAF airmen at Rackheath during the Second World War. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

East Anglia is hoping to become the next must-see destination for American visitors with a new campaign celebrating the special relationship.

American airmen at the USAF base at Sculthorpe. <probably of 47th bombardment wing>
Photo: EDP libr

American airmen at the USAF base at Sculthorpe. <probably of 47th bombardment wing> Photo: EDP library

To mark the 75th anniversary of American troops' arrival in the UK, Visit East Anglia has launched The Friendly Invasion campaign to encourage more tourists from the States to explore the region and its military history.

At the centre of the campaign are a series of East Anglian experiences itineraries to be introduced to the American market.

Lasting three, five or seven days, the experiences will take in historical military sites such as the recently renovated American Air Museum at Duxford, the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial and the 100th Bomb Group Memorial at Thorpe Abbotts, near Diss, as well as tourist hot spots like Norwich Castle and Cathedral and the university city of Cambridge.

MORE: Where US troops called home in our region during the Second World War

The launch event at Duxford this week featured guest speaker Donald L Miller, a venerated US historian whose book Masters of the Air traced the stories of American airmen in East Anglia during the Second World War and could form the basis for a new HBO mini-series.

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The event also marked the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the first US general in the UK, Ira C Eaker, who went on to form the bomber command of the prospective Eighth Air Force.

Friendly Invasion project manager Ann Steward said: 'The commemoration of The Friendly Invasion and our contemporary visitor offering together provide compelling reasons to visit. But this launch is just the start – we need to encourage overall engagement with this project to grow the number of visitors to the East of England.'

Visit East Anglia executive director Pete Waters said: 'We see the launch event of The Friendly Invasion as just the beginning of what is a huge opportunity for the visitor economy in our region.'

Visit East Anglia is leading The Friendly Invasion project with other organisations including Visit Norfolk, Visit Suffolk and Visit Cambridge and Beyond.

The new tours will be promoted to US customers through tour operators and US memorial services who focus on the country's war effort in East Anglia.

For further information, contact Ms Steward on ann.steward.as@gmail.com

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