Visit Norfolk Spring Conference 2014

Visit Norfolk's Spring Conference at the John Innes Centre ended with a rallying call for tourism not to miss the opportunity of promoting the final dualling of the A11 at Elveden.

Brand manager Peter Waters called it a 'once in a generation opportunity' to raise the profile of Norfolk and tell the rest of the country that we're open for tourism.

The day began with networking from 9am, with theatre sessions beginning at 10am. Roy Davenport of Davenport's Magic Kingdom told delegates about Norfolk's newest visitor attraction, and threw in a bit of magic too.

Pete Waters explained the work of Visit Norfolk, including its e-communications to the public and businesses, networking events, arranging press trips and marketing such as the recent There's Nowhere Like Norfolk campaign which included a TV commercial on ITV Player and posters at London rail stations.

He also talked about upcoming work such as market research, commissioning Visit Britain TV to film more than 10 promotional films for Norfolk and the opportunity the A11 dualling affords the county.

'We have a once-in-a-generation chance when the A11 dualling is completed this December to promote our county,' said Waters. 'We need to shout that Norfolk is open for tourism, and open for business; that it's easier and quicker to get to us. That there's no more Friday night tailbacks trying to get into the county and no more Sunday afternoon traffic jams trying to get back out.'

'We need signs on the M11 and A14 saying 'This way for for the UK's Magical Waterland. This way for northern Europe's best-preserved medieval city. This way for the East Coast's premier seaside resorts. This way for the UK's birdwatching capital. This way for stately homes, castles, fantastic visitor attractions. This way for England's UNESCO City of Literature. This way…This way…This way…''

Jude Leitch of Northumberland Tourism talked about the drive to engage the private sector in tourism marketing and Norwich Theatre Royalchief executive Peter Wilson told us about the importance, value and opportunities of cultural tourism.

Delegates were provided with a packed lunch of local seasonal produce from CoCoes at Strattons of Swaffham while they continued networking.

Afternoon sessions were a social media workshop with Beccie and Stephen Amer of Hot Gossip Social Media and a Q&A with industry opinion formers, including Ian Russell of Wroxham Barns, Richard Ellis of Norfolk Country Cottages, Caroline Jarrold of Visit Norwich and Barbara Greasley of Enjoy The Broads.

Exhibitors included the Norfolk Food & Drink Festival, Norfolk Trails and Federation of Small Businesses as well as the county's major tourism organisations.

See images from the day on our Facebook page.

Read the presentations...

Jude Leitch of Northumberland Tourism

Peter Wilson of Norwich Theatre Royal

Hot Gossip Social Media

Visit Norfolk's Autumn conference will be at the JIC on November 24.

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