A tourism programme aimed at telling the stories of England’s National Parks to new international audiences has received one of the country’s top tourism accolades.
The English National Park Experience Collection – a collaboration between National Parks, experience and accommodation providers to offer a taste of life across the very best of the English countryside – received the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism’ award, given by VisitEngland’s Advisory Board in the award’s 30th anniversary year.
Previous winners include the BBC Countryfile, Sir Paul McCartney and Her Majesty the Queen.
The programme, supported through VisitEngland’s Discover England Fund, has seen National Parks across the country come together to offer immerse experiences as diverse as living like a roman, gin making, kayaking and treading in the footsteps of National Park Rangers as they look after some of England’s most treasured landscapes.
More than 70 experiences and 80 accommodation providers are in the new Collection across nine National Parks throughout England.
Initially aimed at key overseas markets including Germany and Australia, the Collection has taken centre stage at a number of international tourism shows, and the programme team have welcomed international media and tourism representatives from around the world.
Mark Holroyd, Head of the English National Park Experience Collection said: “We’re thrilled to find ourselves in such esteemed company with this award, which is as much for the National Park staff, tourism businesses and communities that have come together to allow us to offer such an innovative and appealing set of experiences to those coming to England.
“The award seems all the more fitting in a year when the UK’s National Parks celebrate the 70th anniversary since the founding legislation that paved the way for these world-renowned and much-loved landscapes.”
Denis Wormwell Chairman of the VisitEngland Advisory Board said: “Our research shows that England’s National Parks play a valuable role in our tourism offer to visitors who holiday at home and those from abroad.
“This award recognises this contribution as well as the hard work the Parks have undertaken collaboratively to create exciting new experiences for tourists.”
Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park and lead for tourism across the UK National Parks added: “The strength of this programme is the truly immersive and authentic nature of what the visitor is able to experience, getting to the heart of what it takes to look after our National Parks. These are inspirational places, full of life and act as ‘living landscapes’ – which is a message for us to share not only with international visitors, but with our domestic audiences too.”
“We would like to thank all of the businesses in the Collection who have worked so hard in developing these new experiences over the last 12 months and are now beginning to work with the international travel trade.”
The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award is given every year by the VisitEngland Advisory Board for making special or unique contribution to tourism in England.
The English National Park Experience Collection can be found at: www.nationalparkexperiences.co.uk.
In the photo are: Duncan Wise – Tourism Officer – Northumberland National Park, Mark Holroyd – Head of Programme, Discover England’s National Parks, Dan James – Tourism Officer –Exmoor National Park
Margaret Paren – Chair, South Downs National Park Authority, Sarah Fowler – CEO Peak District National Park Authority, John Packman – CEO The Broads Authority, Chris Brant – Regional Project Manager, Discover England’s National Parks