Telford tourism leaders have forged new international tourism links following a high-profile Canadian media visit to Ironbridge Gorge, the world famous UNESCO World Heritage site.
Some of the biggest titles in Canadian lifestyle, travel and cultural press were hosted on the press tour by Visit Telford – the official tourism organization for the area and part of Telford & Wrekin Council.
The visit was organized through the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games business and tourism growth programme, showcasing the best of Birmingham and the West Midlands region.
Supported by VisitBritain, it was an opportunity to grow international inbound tourism and unlock new markets.
Visit Telford is developing a collaborative tourism partnership for all and delivering activities that support sustainable growth within the tourism and cultural economy.
The Visit Telford tourism team works iwith over 300 local tourism businesses to promote and sustainably grow the area’s outstanding tourism offer.
Visitors from far and wide are encouraged to discover and explore Telford’s world-famous heritage, historic towns and countryside and award-winning museums and attractions.
Canadian press representatives included well established media titles such as Vacaynetwork.co, Postmedia, Espaces, NUVO, Canada.com, Coup de Pouce, Clin d’Oeil and La Presse.
The group enjoyed a tailor made tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site starting with a visit to the great Furnace, the birthplace of the industrial revolution, before heading to the iconic Iron Bridge where they explored the heritage of the River Severn and the attractions on tap at this waterway destination.
As a finale to the tour, the group visited Jackfield Tile Museum ,with its world class collection of tiles, from William Morris to Salvador Dali, where they saw the world’s finest encaustic tile makers Craven Dunnill in action.
Cathy Stapells, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager Canada for VisitBritain based in Toronto, shared her joy at visiting the Gorge and why she thinks that Telford and Ironbridge Gorge have great appeal for Canadian audiences visiting the UK.
Cathy said: “The visit was a huge success. The media were so impressed with Telford and Ironbridge Gorge.
“Not only is it an integral part of the history of England’s Industrial Revolution but also an incredibly beautiful area to showcase to Canadian visitors.”
Telford & Wrekin Council recently launched a new ‘Visit Telford’ digital platform www.visittelford.co.uk which marks the start of an exciting UK wide ‘Visit Telford’ campaign to support the growth of the visitor and culture sector in Telford and beyond.
It provides the ultimate one stop portal for UK and international visitors as well as a hive of information about what to do, where to stay, where to eat and what’s on.
The portal is part of a wider Visit Telford campaign and a bold new brand to drive forward national and international tourism which will see the further roll out of new seasonal campaigns as well as international visitor growth programs untapping opportunities in key tourism markets.
Tourism in Telford has grown at pace over the last 10 years and thanks to its world famous heritage and cultural attractions, as well as major investment and development of its leisure, hospitality and transport offer, it is one of the biggest industries in the region.
Telford attracts over six million visitors per annum spending a mammoth £600million in the local economy.
Councilor Eileen Callear (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Visitor Economy, Employment and Skills, said: “This visit was a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our links with media contacts in Canada and to tap into opportunities which attract Canadians to Ironbridge and Telford as part of their UK grand tour.
“Canada is a very important inbound tourism market for us and the West Midlands and its triad of attractions, from its world class heritage and culture to its majestic outdoors, gives us major appeal to families, culture seekers and adventure makers.
“We look forward to working closer with friends at VisitBritain and West Midlands Tourism Board to attract international visitors, encouraging them to explore and enjoy our region which will hopefully lead to the creation of new employment opportunities.”
If you’re a local resident or a visitor, you can find inspiration on great days out and shorts breaks here
Photo: Top Canadian travel media were delighted to visit Ironbridge Gorge with Mayor of Telford & Wrekin Cllr Raj Mehta, fourth from right, hosted by Visit Telford and VisitBritain