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EXPERIENCE More Business in Kent with our new project

We're working on a new Interreg EXPERIENCE project with Visit Kent that aims to extend the tourism season through the development of off-season experiences, supporting local businesses and promoting our natural assets.

Our aim is to help businesses, organisations and individuals to develop sustainable rural tourism experiences in the Kent Downs AONB and along the North Downs Way, bringing visitors all year round. The project capitalises on the growing global trend for personalised and local tourism experiences, giving visitors more reasons to respect, protect and enjoy our beautiful county. Please complete the sign-up form below to receive our Kent Downs EXPERIENCE Business Updates and read on to find out more about how this exciting new project can help you...

What is an EXPERIENCE?

Traditionally, tourism across much of Kent is ‘destination’ based and focussed on promoting popular destinations during peak season. However, visitors increasingly seek personalised and authentic local tourism experiences. Experiences where they can actively engage and feel a sense of connection to local foods, activities, history, arts and crafts. Experiential tourism immerses the visitor and takes them beyond simply seeing places and following run of the mill itineraries.

We want visitors to be able to walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims, learn about locally growing mushrooms from expert guides, make wooden spoons from nearby timber, practice meditation in a vineyard, fly a kite on our iconic coastline and many more authentic, local and sustainable experiences.

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What's in it for you?

Join us to help deliver our EXPERIENCE project and benefit from;

    • Increasing visitor numbers and overnight stays particularly during the off-season between October and March.
    • Opportunities to connect with other rural businesses in the area.
    • Access to new distribution channels though the relationships we have and are building with the travel trade in the UK and Internationally.
    • Chances to be included in relevant consumer campaigns to attract new and diverse audiences.
    • Focussed training, support and help to adapt your offer to the needs of this growing market.
    • Toolkits, assets and content that you can use to promote your business and make the most of the beautiful countryside around you
    • Option to apply for our Countryside Experience Development Programme

    Read on to learn about opportunities available to you right now...

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Free Training

Webinars and workshops to help you attract walkers, cyclists & all countryside users.

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Free Support

Work with us to create inspirational itineraries and experiences.

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Free Promotion

Reaching outdoor markets through new campaigns, channels and partners.

Countryside Experience Development Programme Applications will re-open in September

We are looking for businesses, organisations or individuals that are particularly interested in nature, landscape and outdoor activities such as walking, cycling or equine. You may be an established business wishing to connect with the countryside and outdoors more. Or you may have little or no experience in the tourist trade, but you may have other skills such as photography, crafts, local history, wildlife, nature expertise, local knowledge, or be interested in using the land you farm and experience you have for more diverse activities.

We will support you to develop new experiences, which use your expertise and passion. If you want to know more you can watch our introductory webinar on this page or on You Tube through this link.

Market Reports and Consumer Research

Find out more about the walking, cycling and outdoor enthusiast markets from the research we've commissioned and collected from a range of sources.

Kent Downs Experience Themes Options Analysis

Route Planning Requirements

Visit Kent's Business Barometer

Sign up to our business news and updates to get access to the latest reports and information about this exciting growing market.

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Workshops, Webinars and Training

We've run 3 webinars so far to help local businesses understand how they can attract more walkers and cyclists. You can access the training documents here and see below for the latest free training and webinars on offer with us and our partners.

11th Feb - Watch our Experience Development Introductory Webinar

Feb & Mar - Learn about getting online, marketing & PR with Produced in Kent.

3rd, 9th, 11th March Farming in the Kent Downs AONB; opportunities for the future.

Make sure you don't miss out on future training opportunities by signing up to our EXPERIENCE business mailing list below.

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Free Ambassador Training

Can you walk the walk and talk the talk along the North Downs Way National Trail? We're working with Pied-a-Terre Adventures to find new ambassadors who want to run walking tours along this wonderful trail in Kent and Surrey. This could be as a hobby or the start of a new business venture. No experience necessary other than a love of being outdoors and sharing local highlights with visitors. We'll provide a programme of free training to support you ending in an assessment and final confirmation that you are a North Downs Way Ambassador.

To find out more visit our web page or join our webinar on 3rd August, simply register on Eventbrite. We hope to see you there!

Cycling UK

Offering free cycle friendly accreditation in Kent, Norfolk and Cornwall.

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Join our Partner Schemes

The EXPERIENCE Development Programmes delivered by Visit Kent and the Kent Downs AONB will provide expert support for businesses, individuals and organisations to develop new off-season Tourism Experiences.

The Kent Downs Countryside programme will welcome new applications in September from rural tourism business in the Kent Downs AONB or along the North Downs Way who want to build an experiences based on landscape, wildlife or rural life and culture.

In the meantime take a look at our friends over at Cycling UK who are running a new accreditation scheme.

Visit Kent

Were looking for businesses from all sectors in Kent and Medway, applications are now closed but you can still access business support and information.

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Explore Kent

Helping you reach outdoor enthusiasts in Kent or beyond with route and map creation too.

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More Business Support

There's plenty of support for businesses across the county with some of our friends and partners. Take a look at the below programmes, training and webinars available near you...

Produced in Kent

Join their series of webinars helping food and drink businesses with getting online, marketing and PR.

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Surrey Hills Enterprises

Offers support, promotion and networking opportunities for businesses in Surrey.

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How is EXPERIENCE funded?

EXPERIENCE is a €23m project co-funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, which has committed €16m from the European Regional Development. Projects are funded in six areas across England and France: Norfolk, Kent, Cornwall, Pas-de-Calais, Compiègne and Brittany. Close collaboration across the six regional projects ensures insights and best practice are shared.

EXPERIENCE in Kent is match funded by:

Ashford Borough Council
Canterbury City Council
Dover District Council
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
Gravesham Borough Council
Kent County Council
Medway Council
Thanet District Council
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Swale Borough Council

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