I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought that we were pretty well blessed here in the UK when it comes to countryside and natural landscapes. The Jurassic Coastline in the west country, the wild beauty of the Scottish Highlands, Snowdonia’s splendour, the mysteries of the Giants’ Causeway in Northern Ireland and the richness of the ‘Garden of England’ in Kent, always make my heart soar. Yours too, I hope.
‘Rich in Natural Beauty’
But it turns out this view is not shared by the rest of the world. Or much of it, anyway. A survey reveals that it is, in fact, seen by people abroad as a weakness, compared to what’s offered by other international destinations.
In this category we come 20th out of 50 in the ‘rich in natural beauty’ category. This doesn’t feel right to me. But, as we all know, the numbers never lie, so perhaps it’s time to do something about what is, after all, a perception rather than an empirical truth.
Step forward then, VisitBritain who I joined today for the launch of a new ‘Countryside is GREAT’ campaign. We chose to do it in Derbyshire, a quintessentially lovely part of England’s ‘green and pleasant land’ and, as such, the sort of place we want more overseas visitors to come to.
It’s rather depressing that 85% of all visitors from the USA never set foot outside our cities; so the three-year marketing push we’re promoting will focus, to begin with, on the US and Germany.
Both of these countries place great importance on beautiful natural landscapes, and we need to let them know they’re missing a trick if they don’t see what we have to offer here.
Tourism is a really big business for us here in the UK and it’s only fair that we do what we can to spread its financial benefits across the whole country.