Tourism trade familiarises itself with local attractions
Berwick needs to do more to ensure visitors enjoy a fully immersive experience of the town and its surrounding attractions.
That is the view of Andy Ashcroft, manager of the Berwick Welcome Visitor Project, which is working to develop Berwick’s potential as a visitor destination through a series of events and initiatives.
Speaking at a familiarisation day for tourism-related businesses, he said: “We know we have a lot to do in terms of marketing and promotion but also lots to do in terms of product.
“In some respects, Berwick has been slightly over-reliant on heritage. You’ve had a different experience of Berwick today from the river. It’s about balancing that different aspect with strengths such as its environment and history.
“It’s about thinking of ‘can do’ Berwick. It’s not just about telling people to walk the walls. Visitors want an experience from their visit, such as outdoor activities at Paxton House.”
The project team is particularly keen to promote the development of tourist itineraries and packages of activities on the Visit Berwick website, which is to be redeveloped.
“They’re very popular with European visitors because they help them make the most of their stay without having to do the research themselves,” said Andy.
Project officer Jenna Shields, who organised the familiarisation day, said: “The Taste of Berwick product awareness trip was a simple intinerary we set up and is nothing that tourism providers can’t do themselves with just a little bit of effort.”
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The new Berwick Ambassadors Scheme is also a key part of the strategy.
Ambassadors will help visitors to the town access the information they require to get the most out of their visit.
Jenna said: “The main thing behind the ambassador scheme is for us to educate local tourism providers who are enthusiastic about Berwick to make people’s holiday that bit better.
“I genuinely think that if you come on holiday to a town and bump into a local and get that added value, that extra bit of information that you didn’t know, it makes it better.”
To become an ambassador, visit www.berwickambassadors.co.uk and complete the online training module.
“It’s really easy to do so I urge people to take a look,” said Jenna.
The Welcome Visitor project, funded by a £304,000 grant from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund, is designed to maximise visitor spend by capitalising on every opportunity to increase visitor footfall, encourage longer stays and repeat visits, enhance visitor experiences and to extend the current visitor season, resulting in increased commercial successes for businesses and positive brand development for the town.