Destination tourism organisations think outside the box to support sector

Photo shows: Helen Peters, chief executive of Shakespeare's England
Shakespeare’s England Helen Peters

Destination tourism organisations across the region are thinking creatively to maintain awareness as Coronavirus closes down visitor attractions.

A Warwickshire boss is hailing online tourism as the next big trend, as top tourist attractions move online amid the on-going Coronavirus pandemic.

Tourist attractions across the region are offering people in lock-down around the world virtual tours of the area to provide some respite from self-isolation.

Helen Peters, the chief executive of Shakespeare’s England, the destination management organisation for South Warwickshire has praised the industry’s response to moving resources online and sees e-tourism as the new way to ‘visit’ a region.

She said: “These are difficult times for the tourism industry, but it’s great to see so many new and creative ideas being used for attractions to bring a taste of Warwickshire to people at home.

“Arm-chair travelling will become the next big thing for people who are planning where they want to visit once it is safe to do so, which means being able to virtually interact with and tour these attractions will be crucial to the travel industry over the next few months.

“Lots of attractions in Warwickshire have increased their online offering with virtual tours, workshops and videos for people to interact with their businesses so we hope lots of travel-lovers will get involved with this new method of ‘visiting’ our top attractions.”

Experience Oxfordshire has launched ‘The Big Oxfordshire Quiz’ which aims to increase pride in place amongst Oxfordshire locals during the Covid-19 crisis and encourage online interaction.

The Big Oxfordshire Quiz (#BigOxQuiz) campaign aims to bring Oxfordshire locals together through an online quiz every Friday evening during the lockdown period. Throughout the quiz series, Experience Oxfordshire showcase the things that make Oxfordshire incredibly unique across 5 categories (1 per week); Film & TV, Literature, Food & Drink, Music and Heritage.

The quizzes are held entirely online, with a unique code to enter each quiz being shared by Experience Oxfordshire each week. The code can be shared amongst unlimited family and friends, so players can test their Oxfordshire knowledge against friends self-isolating elsewhere.

Each week, the player with the most points at the end of the quiz will win a fabulous prize. The first quiz took place on Friday of last week, with the highest scorer winning two tickets to Blenheim Palace, Park & Gardens, to be redeemed when the Palace and Gardens reopen.

Chief Executive of Experience Oxfordshire Hayley Beer-Gamage, said;

“Whilst we can’t actively promote travel to Oxfordshire, we are working hard to bolster pride in place amongst Oxfordshire locals and bring the community together however we can. The Big Oxfordshire Quiz is a great way to lift spirits at this time – we look forward to lots of players joining us online on Friday evening.

“As the Destination Management Organisation for Oxfordshire we are continuing to keep warm dialogue with national and international travel trade and media contacts as well as supporting all of our partners at this time. We have always flown the flag for the importance of Oxfordshire’s visitor economy and its value, which is worth £2.3 billion a year and supports nearly 40,000 jobs and will continue to do so to ensure that we are ready and able to welcome both locals and visitors back when destinations and travel open back up again.”

The next quiz will take place on Friday 3rd April with this week’s theme being literature. Oxford Official Walking Tours are providing the prize of a family ticket (maximum of 4 people any combination of adults and children) to be used when tours recommence later in the year. More exciting prizes to be announced for each week’s quiz.

To take part, visit www.experienceoxfordshire.org/BigOxQuiz and follow #BigOxQuiz on social media.