Kent welcomes the London 2012 Olympic visitors
When the Olympics arrive in London next year, there are expected to be 350,000 foreign visitors arriving in the capital every day and many will be thinking about visiting nearby Kent while they are here...
When the Olympics arrive in London next year, there are expected to be 350,000 foreign visitors arriving in the capital every day and many will be thinking about visiting nearby Kent while they are here
Words by Lisa Whitbread pictures courtesy of Kent County Council
Here in Kent we are lucky to have so many places of interest. Ahead of the Olympics, local people have the chance to enjoy the attractions on their doorstep by taking part in My Kent Big Weekend, when thousands of free tickets will be available for residents during the weekend 26 and 27March.
My Kent Big Weekend has grown out of the Kent Big Day Out, which was first launched in 2005 by Visit Kent, the county’s tourism champion.
From castles to gardens, animal parks to museums, there really will be something for everyone to enjoy.
Last year there were 17,000 tickets up for grabs for 130 venues and activities. There are also plans to make tickets available for the first time across the Channel in the Nord-pas de Calais area in the future.
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Every year, Kent welcomes 44 million visitors who contribute more than �2.5bn to the local economy. By staying and spending in the county, they give a significant boost to local businesses, restaurants, shops and accommodation providers.
Plans are underway to create specific welcome points around the county so visitors arriving in 2012 know where to go to for help and information. Kent County Council is also working with transport providers to make sure that they have easy access from Kent to the London 2012 Games and get around the county.
To help tourists get the most from their stay and encourage them to visit again in the future, Kent Greeters are on hand to give them a unique view of what makes Kent so special.
The Kent Greeters scheme puts visitors in touch with local people who take them on a tour and pass on their passion for the area in which they live. Groups of up to six people can have a free tour of up to an hour and a half while discovering hidden stories and unusual landmarks to make it an unforgettable experience.
There are currently 50 registered volunteer greeters working throughout Kent in Canterbury, Shepway, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Thanet, Dover, Deal, Sandwich, Ashford and Tenterden.
The plan is to have a band of Greeters available in 2012 to welcome visitors coming for the Olympic and Paralympic games and to be a friendly face to all those coming to Kent.
My Kent Big Weekend and Kent Greeters are run by Visit Kent as part of the Kent 2012 campaign, which is led and managed by Kent County Council. The campaign works with individuals and organisations to help the county make the most of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games through tourism, sport, arts, volunteering, schools and transport.
To find out more about what is happening in Kent, go to www.kentsport.org/london2012 and to register for tickets to My Kent Big Weekend go to www.mykentbigweekend or a local visitor information centre. Registration opened at the end of January and tickets will be allocated two weeks before the event. To find out more about the Kent Greeters scheme, go to www.kentgreeters.co.uk. For all other supporting links click here.