Thursday, 24 March 2016

Have a Great British Kent Cambodia Bank Holiday

The start of the new tourism season is always rather exciting: a Bank Holiday wouldn’t be a Bank Holiday without the potential for 3 or 4 days of pelting rain. But in East Kent it looks as though the sun will be out.

Broadstairs as so often making a decent effort with beach swept and some of the huts painted and RNLI Baywatch safety hut and children’s swings etc out.

Hopefully Ramsgate will do the same although the street sweepers really have put a superb effort recently – a difficult job but one of those unseen hero roles (rightly celebrated in a Canterbury add campaign too) that really improve all 30 of Kent’s towns.

And so important for tourism especially given PM Cameron’s launch of the UK Tourism programmes in Kent a week or so ago.

The jobs and economic value of tourism in Kent is incredibly high.

The horrific Brussels attacks will disrupt travel in Europe for weeks if not months to some extent – already the US State Department has issued a travel warning for all of Europe which is rather silly and I’m sure the Polish or Italian or Croatian travel industry far from Belgium or Paris would be a bit miffed - so right that such tourism effort is needed.

Already the Visit Scotland advertising campaign is out and, as always rather, sparkling.

The general Britain is Great campaign is excellent too and rolling out across different sectors and markets with a beautifully understated and flexible theme: Great British Sports, Great British Film, Great British Fashion, Northern Ireland is Great etc etc.

Really excellent.

And Kent should be urging a Kent is Great strand and Great British Art etc. Why not? It would complement the excellent Visit Kent and Visit Thanet activity too.

Being picky, some of the recent Great Britain campaigns are a little bit wonky with television advertising in UK which seems a bit unnecessary and expensive and very brief 10 second slots.

I wouldn’t recommend that myself.

While having some of the Great scripts are a bit patchy: an Indian market emphasising trains and beautifully shot in an Indian train station is by far the best. A Thai market one is a bit off beam with a rather clunky studio location for a Thai floating market, and I think for UK food. It was OK but rather strange one in a beautiful snowy Norwegian fjord – presumably Scotland? – and highlighting Indian Balti. Is that a key UK export market? I couldn’t work it out. As I say all a bit patchy.

And a very interesting Government report on the importance of culture in general and the Creative Industries (film, fashion, advertising, computer games, sports, you name it – all the stuff that Brand Britain and UK plc does incredibly well and is often overlooked for cars and engineering etc) in particular. Britain’s museums and art galleries are rightly the envy of the world – East Kent’s Turner Centre is a bit of a gem. And interesting Margate’s Tracey Emin, a huge supporter of the town and Turner gallery, marries a rock to promote her Hong Kong arts exhibition.

And if East Kent can be neglected abroad in tourism or an understandable over-reliance on near-neighbour markets such as Benelux and France and Spain then that can be reversed. Why would Kent want to lose out on Chinese or Japanese or ASEAN tourism? The potential for 10 ASEAN nations visiting UK is huge. Thai tourists for example are the 3rd largest spenders in UK.

Or there’s UK influence and reputation in Asia – about 40% of the world population live there now and that’s likely to increase to 60% in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives.

The Great activity though is part of a very dynamic exports programme for UK to gain larger footholds in those markets. Why wouldn’t Indian and Chinese markets want to be driving Rolls Royces and wearing Burberry and certainly using UK vaccines and car parts and shoes and watching UK films and television and visiting UK? Rather than say USA or China or Italy or Germany?

And visiting Kent.

Especially with London and Paris and Brussels and Amsterdam on our doorstep.

I’ve detailed a Kent-Benelux Lion Cubs strategy too, that you may remember is further down this blog, with Benelux brands such as Heineken and Alpro and Panasonic etc too.

3 Lions poised across the Channel to work with Kent.

Not so much just a trickle-down effect but also the trickle-through tourism that improves every business whether the good folks at Waitrose or Caffe Nero or pubs or restaurants or travel agents or banking - the whole butcher, baker and candlestickmaker scenario.

An East Kent tourism and business tide that lifts all boats.

With the most Blue Flag beaches in Britain, the only Royal Harbour in Britain, and both Canterbury Cathedral and White Cliffs UNESCO sites within walking distance it shouldn’t be difficult.

While if Kent isn’t too great at football there are other sports such as the rather excellent Margate beach volleyball activity – the World Games no less. The Yorkshire Tour De cycling has picked up where the Tour De Canterbury left off and a rather neat Women’s Tour de cycle in the Midlands this Summer.

And Cambodia Kent?

One other thing that impressed me recently was this book:

Not just a fun read and about Cambodia and women engineers – the STEM economy that UK does not too badly at – but the whole thing written and produced by the British Embassy in Phnom Penh for Cambodian schools.
And also an interesting new UK education technique of Maths Diagnostic Questions.

What a sparkling initiative and Great use of your tax funds for the years ahead and hopefully one that resonates widely, not just with Cambodian women engineers studying at Kent’s 4 universities or 400 schools or who knows how many language schools, but also Cambodian tourists too.

At the very least it reminds me I need to get on with the Surin Comic this Bank Holiday and try make it half as good as this if I can.

Have a Great Bank Hols.

Time for Change

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