Broads looks to woo continental visitors
09:05 12 April 2014
EDP Top100 firm Hoseasons has unveiled plans to woo continental visitors back to the Broads for boating holidays.
Simon Altham, managing director of the Lowestoft-based holiday firm, hosted a meeting afloat with Bernd Muckenschnabel, chairman of Novasol, a German sister company of Hoseasons, to look at ways of attracting German, Dutch and Danish visitors to Norfolk as early as next year.
Geoff Cowley, managing-director of Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK, another sister company in the Wyndham Group, also took part in the meeting on a luxury Broom cruiser at Brundall.
Mr Altham said: “During the 1980s and 1990s the Broads had a strong appeal with international visitors, particularly from northern Europe, and the feedback I have had from hire boat firms is that we need to work hard on in-bound tourism.”
He described partnership working with Novasol as a “unique opportunity”.
He said: “We did some research which showed there is a significant appetite for boating in Germany. France is the big destination for them and I said, ‘what about the Broads?’.
“Our initial conversations were not so favourable as their perception of quality on the Broads dated back to the 1980s and 1990s.
“The stock in Europe is very high quality and they did not realise that quality can be found on the Norfolk Broads.”
However, Mr Altham said the impressions his guests had changed once he had shown them the “superb quality” of the new Broom cruisers and the impressive range of boats at the neighbouring Silverline yard.
He said: “They were struck by the quality of the boats, the ease of driving with such features as bow thrusters and the Broads’ focus on safety as well as the friendliness of staff.”
Mr Altham said Novasol would now look at the logistics of packaging Broads breaks via ferry to Felixstowe and possibly through Norwich airport.
He said other work that needed to be done included translating important documents such as skipper manuals and it was realistic to look to the 2015 season to start the initiative.
Greg Munford, CEO of Stalham-based Richardson’s, the biggest hire boat operator on the Broads, said: “I think it is a great idea. Of all our continental neighbours, Germany is the stand-out country for having a tradition of people liking to holiday on the Norfolk Broads.”