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Visitor experience: are you being served?

Visitor experience: are you being served?

English Tourism Week 2015 (14-22 March 2015) is a yearly celebration showcasing visitor experiences and the value tourism brings to local communities and the national economy. Last year a big variety of local and national events, discounts and special promotions were on offer, including museum events, exhibitions, sports experiences, crafts workshops and regional celebrations like the Big Chilterns Weekend. Public and private tourism operators are aware of how crucial it is to improve visitor experience, yet you often find old leaflets lying around museums and websites that have not been updated for several weeks if not months. Budget and digital skills constraints are often responsible for this. In some organisations the website and social media accounts are manned by volunteers so they might lack continuity and consistency, especially if the tasks are shared by several people. Tourism is a highly competitive industry; therefore the quality of visitor experience is key to revenue. Using tourism data, Euromonitor International has ranked the world’s top 100 most-visited cities and London comes in at number four. London attracts more tourists than chic Paris and vibrant New York. A recent UK survey also places London in the top spot. Other popular destinations are Cambridge and Royal Windsor, especially with Asian visitors. Monitoring visitor experience is also crucial to cultural organisations. ALVA (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions), which this year is celebrating 25 years, is the professional and lobby organisation representing museums, galleries, palaces, castles, cathedrals, zoos, historic houses, heritage sites and leisure attractions. Its members comprise over 2200 tourist sites that boast over 119 million domestic and overseas visitors each year. ALVA’s 2014 report...
What’s happening to our country pubs?

What’s happening to our country pubs?

Pubs are disappearing at a fast rate in cities and in the countryside, where they have always been at the centre of the community alongside the church hall and village shop. Changing habits – like drinking in to take advantage of lower supermarket prices – the growing popularity of bar chains and property speculation are taking their toll on public houses across Britain. According to CAMRA, a British non-profit organisation campaigning for real ale and community pubs, 29 pubs are closing each week. CAMRA has been lobbying the Government to close planning loopholes in order to save pubs. Tim Page, CAMRA’s chief executive, explains: “In England, it’s currently possible to convert a pub into a betting shop, pay-day loan store or supermarket without the need for planning permission, making it far too easy for pubs valued by the community to be lost without local people having a say. Given the huge contribution that pubs make to community life in Britain, we believe this cannot be right.” Research by CAMRA discovered that pubs support over 1m jobs nationally and contribute around £80,000 to a local economy each year. Although 75% of adults believe that pubs make a valid contribution to community life, two pubs are converted to supermarkets every week. Many politicians have joined the fight to save British pubs, so do speak to your local MP if you have any concerns. In praise of country pub food British cuisine had been suffering bad press for years until a new breed of chefs injected fresh enthusiasm into traditional dishes, making the best of local ingredients and suppliers. However, the pub...