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.

Relaxing outdoors sleeping

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 craftsExperiential 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.

Experience Maker Programme

Applications have closed, however if you are still interested in developing an experience, we would love to hear from you.

We will support you to develop new experiences, which use your expertise and passion. If you want to know more you can watch our experience maker webinar here.

Older Couple enjoying Westerham walk

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 next free training and webinars on offer with us and our partners.

1st February Sense of Place: Sustainable Tourism and Agritourism in Protected Landscapes

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.

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

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 Experience Maker Programme are welcoming new applications from now, until the 15th November 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.

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

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…

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