This project contributes to realise the potential of common natural and cultural assets to deliver innovative and sustainable growth in the French-English Channel (FCE) region. With a budget over €23m, to our knowledge, this is the largest sustainable tourism project ever funded by the European Commission, and will provide an excellent platform for experimentation and data collection.
The project will contribute to reduce seasonality in the Oct-March period by supporting the development of experiential, sustainable tourism offer that improves the economy, contributes to healthy communities and preserves the environment. To break the cycle and successfully extend the season, EXPERIENCE will develop a new tourism strategy to tackle all the challenges at once. We will capitalise on successes with experiential tourism observed in other countries. We will apply this to the FCE region to attract off-season visitors.
The new strategy is composed of 5 delivery plans designed to break existing tourism convention and bring global innovation in season extension across six pilot regions: Brittany, Pas-de-Calais, Compiègne, Norfolk, Kent and Cornwall. We will:
- Unite and train traditional (tourism offices) and atypical actors (foresters/artisans) to recognise unique regional tourism selling points
- Co-create new off-season tourism offer with destinations, harnessing regional selling points to create exciting itineraries
- Adapt regional summer tourism infrastructure for off-season use
- Testing off-season experiential tourism marketing solutions through the use of the Digital Lab. Promote the FCE region for experiential tourism Oct-Mar
- Ensure offer is demand-driven for continued off-season visitors growth in FCE region
We will also be the lead partner for the evaluation of economic, social, and environmental impacts on pilot regions to ensure the project creates long-lasting benefits in host communities. We will ensure the sustainability of project activities by creating indicators to monitor and measure how EXPERIENCE will contribute towards:
- Economic gain (eg. Supporting local businesses and year-round jobs)
- Social gain (visitors must not overwhelm local culture and service provision in host communities)
- Environmental gain (protecting natural and cultural assets that visitors travel to see)