Visit Kent’s success in delivering four European cross-border projects has been rewarded with additional 2 Seas Interreg funding to share its findings with visitor businesses and organisations on both sides of the Channel.
Visit Kent, in partnership with Kent County Council, has been allocated £76,700 of a new £213,859 2 Seas Interreg award to disseminate and develop the findings of its previous European research programmes – Sustainable Tourism Research and Intelligence Partnership (SusTrip), Greet The World, Coastal Actions for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) and Balance.
The new funding will bring the research findings to a much wider public and be made available to support and empower tourism businesses and volunteers to develop innovative and sustainable products, services and marketing specifically targeted at the near-by tourism markets.
Visit Kent will host a major conference on April 3 for representatives of tourism businesses and organisations across the research areas including Pas de Calais, Flanders, The Netherlands, Norfolk and Suffolk.
The conference, in Ashford, will present the research findings and keynote speakers will develop the themes uncovered and examine innovative ways to grow sustainable tourism between neighbouring areas.
The Kent event will be followed in June by a Cross Border Greeter Conference in the Pas de Calais to discuss the contribution Greeters are making to local visitor economies and how success stories, such as Kent’s walking and cycling Greeters, can be developed.
And all the findings and developments will be published in a cross-border publication in English, French and Dutch Why Travel Further? to help businesses and Greeters understand the many visitor economy opportunities the near market offers.
Sandra Matthews-Marsh, chief executive at Visit Kent, said: “Our past Interreg projects have already contributed greatly to the Kent visitor economy and our very popular volunteer Greeter programme.
“And our partners have experienced similar benefits from their different areas of research. We have formed new relationships and partnerships as we have worked together and gained insights that no single area could have achieved on its own.
“This next phase will enable us to share all that information much more widely with the Kent business people and entrepreneurs who deliver our visitor economy throughout the year. And it will provide invaluable support for our Kent Greeter network, which, as the first to be launched in Europe, has been leading the way.
“It will also bring businesses and volunteers from either side of the Channel together to develop new networks and exciting marketing and promotional opportunities.”