International tour operators Discover Herts

Hertfordshire destination management organisation (DMO), Visit Herts and travel trade association UKinbound, joined forces to host 15 representatives from international tour operators at a two-day Discover Herts event.

The event, based at the De Vere Theobalds Estate in Cheshunt on 7th and 8th May, was designed to showcase the wide range of destinations, attractions and accommodation providers in Hertfordshire, in order to encourage more international visitors to the county.

Bordering north London, Hertfordshire is renowned for its beauty, rich cultural and religious heritage, as well as its sporting and adventure destinations. The county’s spectacular diversity includes locations such as the Roman city of St Albans, Welwyn Garden City – the birthplace of the “Garden City” movement, two major film studios, Warner Bros and Elstree, and one of the venues of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games at Lee Valley.

A key part of the Discover Herts event involved a series of one to one appointments between 20 tourism businesses from the county and tour operators from China, the US, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy and Benelux. The packed programme of events incorporated familiarisation (fam) trips to local destinations and attractions, including Paradise Wildlife Park, Knebworth House and St Albans.

Delegates also attended key presentations from UKinbound CEO Deirdre Wells OBE, Visit Herts CEO Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE and VisitBritain market intelligence specialist, Keri Portas.

The trade event was the first if its kind in Hertfordshire and marked the start of Visit Herts’ new travel trade strategy to increase visitors to the county. Central elements of the strategy include promoting Hertfordshire’s tourism offering through UK and international exhibitions, workshops, fam trips and building relationships with key buyers.

Deirdre Wells OBE, said: “We were delighted to bring so many key tour operators to the Discover Herts event. Last year, nearly 37 million visitors came to the UK, spending over £22 billion. With its proximity to London, exceptional attractions and hotels, as well as great transport links via Govia Thameslink Railways, Stansted and Luton airports, Hertfordshire is in a fantastic position to attract international visitors.”

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, said: “Hertfordshire is a beautiful county with a wealth of amazing places to see and visit. It is also one of the UK’s best kept secrets and we are delighted that we have been able to share the story of Herts with so many tour operators. It has been a real delight watching people discover some of the county’s hidden gems, and build programmes and itineraries designed to share the wonder of Hertfordshire with their customers.”

Results from the recent Visit Herts Cambridge Economic Impact Model shows the total value of tourism to Hertfordshire to be currently estimated at £2.1 billion and supporting almost 38,000 jobs across the county.

For more information about Hertfordshire, please visit www.visitherts.co.uk.

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