Nottingham looks set to welcome an influx of UK and international visitors in the months and years to come following Visit Nottinghamshire and Nottingham Castle’s attendance at global travel trade event ExploreGB Virtual (1st – 5th March 2021). International travel trade professionals were given an inspiring introduction to this green, creative and legendary destination – known worldwide as the home of Robin Hood – alongside Nottingham Castle, dubbed “the most important heritage project in England”, in a move hoped to kickstart tourism as the industry reopens, supporting the recovery of this hard-hit sector.
This virtual event accommodated all time zones, allowing the Nottingham team to forge business connections with buyers from all over the world, including North America, Europe and Asia. The £30m transformation of Nottingham Castle was a particularly ‘hot topic’ during the conversations, with travel trade professionals keen to learn more about the brand-new visitor offer and how the Castle could be incorporated into their travel packages and itineraries. This flagship visitor attraction will offer a contemporary and creative retelling of history, art and industry, with one of the most eagerly awaited experiences an innovative and immersive exploration of the legend of Robin Hood.
The Nottingham team also identified a growing appetite for international travellers to explore other parts of the UK alongside more mainstream destinations such as London, a possible side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of conversations centred around the legend of Robin Hood and how visitors can experience this today (such as Ezekial Bone’s Robin Hood Town Tour, or the Legend of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest coach tour), whilst other attendees were keen to learn more about Nottingham’s history and heritage, such as the lace industry, its connection with the Mayflower Pilgrims, or its heritage sites including Wollaton Hall and Newstead Abbey. The team explained how visitors can discover underground caves beneath the city streets, stop for a drink in the oldest inn in England, see stunning architecture and experience the vibrant cultural offer.
To further boost the recovery of the tourism sector, Visit Nottinghamshire is also investing into its website to integrate digital marketplace TXGB to allow visitors to make direct bookings for attractions, experiences and hotels, has launched a new Nottingham toolkit to help other businesses promote the city to visitors, and is refurbishing the Nottingham Tourism Centre to bring Robin Hood centre stage, encouraging visitors to discover the legend for themselves at Nottingham’s tourist attractions including Nottingham Castle.
Kinga Kapias, Marketing and Communications Manager at Visit Nottinghamshire said:
“Our local tourism sector – like the rest of the world – has been devastated by the effects of COVID-19. However, Nottinghamshire is at an incredibly exciting point in its history, and we’re confident that the sector will be able to bounce back in the months and years to come. Robin Hood is experiencing something of a renaissance, not least with the £30m transformation of Nottingham Castle set to offer an innovative and immersive retelling of this ancient legend. The travel trade professionals at ExploreGB were genuinely excited and inspired by what we had to tell them, and our productive conversations gave us a stronger understanding of how to tap into these global markets and drive international tourism to Nottingham as soon as the sector reopens.”
Sara Blair-Manning, CEO Of Nottingham Castle said:
“We were so pleased to be able to take part in ExploreGB Virtual, and were thrilled by the palpable enthusiasm of travel trade professionals as we introduced them to our new visitor offer. Our contemporary, immersive retelling of the legend of Robin hood, and the creative, industrial and social justice histories of the city tap into the evident global interest in these amazing stories, and we are excited to share them with the world once we reopen. We are confident that Nottingham Castle will become a key tourist attraction, and are expecting to welcome significant numbers once the Covid crisis is under control, giving the local tourism sector a helping hand as it begins to build back better.”
VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
“ExploreGB Virtual gives travel industry suppliers and destinations from across the UK the chance to promote their outstanding tourism products and services to top global buyers and forge valuable, lasting business connections.”
“This flagship global trade event will also keep the UK front of mind as a competitive, leading destination, inspiring future travel and broadening travel itineraries as visitors explore more and contribute to local economies.”
Image credit: Tracey Whitefoot and Nottingham Castle Trust.
Posted on 18 March 2021