Top Tourism Award Goes to English National Parks
English National Parks this week received one of the country’s top tourism accolades in recognition of their work to ensure visitors to some of the country’s finest landscapes, including the South West’s Exmoor and Dartmoor, enjoy a world-class experience.
In giving Visit England’s prestigious ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism’ award, the judges were impressed by the recently launched English National Park Experience Collection (ENPEC) – a collaboration between National Parks, and local experience and accommodation providers that has led to more than 70 new immersive experiences being developed across nine National Parks throughout England.
Previous winners include the National Trust, BBC Countryfile, Sir Paul McCartney and Her Majesty the Queen.
Dan James, who attended the award ceremony on behalf of Exmoor National Park, said: "This award is the culmination of extensive work across the whole English National Park family to establish a first-class rights of way network, conserve and enhance the natural beauty of some of our most cherished landscapes - including the establishment of several Dark Sky Reserves - and launch a dynamic scheme to attract more international tourists. It’s a huge honour that could not have been achieved without the support of our many dedicated partners.”
Dennis 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.”
An event earlier this month showcasing Exmoor National Park’s contribution to the ENPEC to a packed audience in Dunster Castle’s Tennant’s Hall included experiences as diverse as milling and baking your own bread the medieval way, embarking on a seafront dining adventure, flying owls and hawks, and treading in the footsteps of National Park Rangers as they look after some of England’s most treasured landscapes.
Initially aimed at key overseas markets including Germany and Australia, the scheme 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, programme manager for the ENPEC, 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.”
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
Published: 14 March 2019
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