A big thanks to VisitEngland for this week’s event at the International Festival for Business. It was great to see lots of friendly faces amongst the audience, all gathering to join the debate on the tourism divide between London and the rest of the country.
London is booming, it’s a powerful and seductive force, an iconic brand that draws people in from all over the world. So is the rest of England destined to sit in its shadow? Or can we capitalise on its success and use it as a springboard for the rest of the country?
Tourism Minister Helen Grant MP spoke of the power of having pride in your product. When you work at the front line, as we do, then you can really appreciate what a difference this makes and consistently those that stand out, are those that have a real connection to their place, celebrating and reflecting it in all that they do.
Shropshire is a great example. There is a real sense of genuineness about the county and thus its “tourism product”, what’s created is done from love and enthusiasm, the joy of making others happy and with respect for traditions and values. The results are thrilling, and our own joy has been in telling the story of Shropshire and taking journalists on journeys of discovery.
In talking about her own travel experiences, Chairman of VisitEngland Penelope Cobham shared with us her discovery of the best fish and chips in England. She had been drawn to the heaving restaurant, hidden away in the middle of a remote area, following a rave rating from a writer at The Times.
Not only does this prove that a fantastic product can survive anywhere, but it also demonstrates the power of PR. The two in partnership are a formidable force.
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