Ninety-five per cent of visitors to the county this summer rated their holiday or day trip as excellent or good, according to the latest research undertaken by Visit Kent.
Ninety per cent of visitors said they are likely to return to the county while 88 per cent are likely to recommend Kent to others. Ninety per cent of visitors were impressed by the cleanliness of the county and 87 per cent were positive about the welcome they had received.
And the five top reasons for people coming to Kent this summer were the county’s history and heritage (44 per cent), the countryside (28 per cent), the coast (26 per cent), catching up with friends and relatives (24 per cent) and visitor attractions (22 per cent).
The tourism champions at Visit Kent worked with Qa
Research to collate and analyse information gathered through an online survey and face-to-face interviews across Kent.
The Visit Kent research aims to capture an up-to-date profile of visitors and their perceptions of Kent to support tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses in their bid to develop and grow new products, services and markets.
They discovered that a quarter of all visitors were from overseas and just over a third of visitors were in the county for the first time. Sixty-two per cent said their main reason for visiting was for leisure or a holiday visit, 18 per cent to visit friends or relatives and seven per cent for the Olympics.
Most visitors, just over two-thirds, stayed in Kent for an average 5.7 nights. And short break visitors and day visitors from other parts of the UK were most likely to have come from other parts of the South East, London and the East of England.
The majority of overseas visitors were from near mainland Europe countries such as Germany (25 per cent), France 14 per cent), the Netherlands (ten per cent) and Spain (nine per cent). However, long haul visitors were also well represented including Australia (eight per cent), USA (seven per cent) and Japan (three per cent).
Sandra Matthews-Marsh, chief executive for Visit Kent, said: “This detailed research shows just how well our tourism providers are doing in making Kent the most welcoming county in England and consistently delivering a really high-quality visitor experience.
“There is no doubt that 2012 has proved challenging for many tourism businesses. We have had the highest rainfall in 100 years, high petrol prices, concerns about the economy and many people staying at home to watch the Olympics on the television. Yet we have succeeded in delighting our guests.
“We will now be working with tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses to drill down into this research to target our products and our marketing so that we can build on our success during a challenging season.
“Tourism delivers more than £3.2 billion to the Kent economy year or year supporting more than 3,000 businesses. It is an industry that is perfectly placed to drive our economy forward with enthusiastic and creative entrepreneurs eager to take their ideas to market and create good career-style jobs for our young people.
Sandra also said she was delighted that the Visit Kent website was the key source of information used by visitors (25 per cent).
Mark Dance, Cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Development at Kent County Council, said:
“This is a huge vote of confidence in Kent as a visitor destination. We have tremendous history and heritage, and outstanding coast and countryside for our guests but even more importantly we are delivering the welcome and the service that make all the difference to the holiday experience.
“Over the past ten years Visit Kent has gone from strength to strength in promoting our county as a must-visit destination. And its business support, focus on top-quality customer services and initiatives to build pride in Kent throughout the supply chain and beyond are second to none.
“This research will inform the campaigns and programmes Visit Kent will work with its businesses and investors to develop in the coming ten years.”