The English Riviera Tourism Company (ERTC) has pulled off a major coup in harnessing the amazing PR opportunity offered by the influx of high-level international press in the UK to cover the 2012 Olympics.
The ERTC board made the decision earlier this year to capitalise on all major PR opportunities offered by the Olympics to promote the English Riviera as a leading UK destination. This work builds on the exceptionally strong relationship the ERTC has already established with Visit England.
The first of these PR opportunities was a Visit England International Press Trip on the Orient Express. Carolyn Custerson, (ERTC Chief Executive) and Anita Newcombe (ERTC PR) joined the Minister for Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose MP plus the Visit England team including Chief Executive James Berresford, in London to host 200 senior international travel journalists.
The purpose of this unique trip was to showcase quintessential England on a journey along the Kent coast to including a menu sampling regional delicacies from across the country.
The ERTC was one of only 10 regions in the country to be represented and the PR team created an ‘Agatha Christie’s Riviera’ themed carriage to promote the resort. The 10 carriages of the internationally famous Orient Express Pullman train were all themed to present a selection of England regions and the English Riviera was the only South West resort included.
The ERTC had arranged for Hercule Poirot (Martin Gaisford) to greet the journalists and this made the English Riviera really stand out in coverage and photos. The Agatha Christie carriage proved hugely popular with many journalists visiting the carriage to have their photo taken with the world famous detective. The English Riviera PR team also offered handmade petit fours kindly donated by Torquay’s Grand Hotel.
The travel journalists came from all over the world including Russia, China, Japan, Denmark, Italy, Brazil, Spain and Germany. Every journalist was presented an ‘England Goody bag’ in which donated promotional items from National Trust’s Greenway House (guides of the house, postcards and branded mints) were included. These gifts helped to stimulate requests to visit the area and a major press trip to the resort next week is now fully booked with 15 senior travel journalists expected. In addition Bay’s Brewery kindly donated a presentation pack for the national hamper presented as a prize.
Carolyn Custerson said, ‘London 2012 has presented us all with a unique opportunity to showcase England to the world. With increased interest from a growing number of world destinations to visit the UK, PR opportunities like this are too good to miss. The ERTC will not miss any opportunities to raise awareness and promote the English Riviera nationally and internationally. We are very fortunate to have the Agatha Christie legacy and I would like to thank everyone involved with this superb PR initiative.’
PHOTO L – R James Beresford (Chief Executive Visit England), Robin Hood (from Nottingham), Hercule Poirot (from English Riviera), Carolyn Custerson (Chief Executive ERTC), John Penrose MP (Minister for Tourism & Heritage)
photo by Anita Newcombe