Stacey McShane, General Manager of the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, has recently returned from a 13,000-mile round trip to promote the famous story of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter and the English Lake District in Japan. The trip encompassed meeting key tour operators & media contacts in Japan as well as presenting a replica of the Attraction’s famous garden for visitors to the British Fair in Osaka. To begin the trip Stacey joined the Lake District Japan Forum delegation visiting the cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, working together to strengthen tourism links with the region and promote the Lake District as a World Heritage destination for overseas visitors.
Peter Rabbit is a firm favourite in Japanese culture and Beatrix Potter has an enduring appeal. The recent release of the Peter Rabbit movie has popularised the character more than ever, and with this in mind, Stacey promoted a Beatrix Potter travel itinerary to over 300 Japanese travel industry operators, forging links and increasing awareness of tourism in the Lakes. Many of the contacts had knowledge of, or had already visited the Attraction and confirmed that it is still considered a focal part of their trip to the Lake District. The Attraction currently welcomes thousands of Japanese visitors each year and is expecting more growth and an increase in visitor figures in the years to come.
In addition to the trade mission, the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction was invited to recreate its award-winning Bowness Peter Rabbit Garden at the traditional British Fair, held in Department store Hankyu in
Osaka. The British Fair, now in its 40th year takes place in one of the biggest department stores in Japan and is an extremely well established event, promoting and selling British products to those who want to experience and enjoy the British culture and lifestyle. For 2018, the theme “World of British Fantasy” enabled garden designer Richard Lucas to create a stunning indoor version of the Lake District Attraction’s famous garden which included a selection of much-loved characters and props from the Attraction which were sent from Bowness to Osaka for the Hankyu visitors to admire. The garden gave a real flavour of everything the Lake District Attraction offers the visitor and was a visually stunning highlight of the Fair.
Stacey McShane said: “It was so exciting to be asked to design a replica of our Peter Rabbit garden in Bowness for the famous British Fair in Japan. We shipped favourite characters Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-winkle, Jemima Puddle Duck and Flopsy, Mopsy & Cottontail out to Japan to be part of the display. Over half a million people visited the British Fair over a week and saw our Peter Rabbit garden which was a firm favourite with everyone. We were overwhelmed with the reaction to it, and it was wonderful to see how loved Peter Rabbit is in Japan. People were so taken with the garden which was designed to look just like Beatrix Potter’s illustration in the Tale of Peter Rabbit.
The Hankyu Fair was the icing on the cake of an extremely successful trip to Japan, despite a typhoon hitting Tokyo whilst we visited, and then narrowly missing us in Osaka later. It’s amazing to see how Peter Rabbit remains a much loved character because of his ‘cuteness’ and quintessential ‘Englishness’ which appeal so much to the Japanese culture. We look forward to welcoming more Japanese visitors to the Lakes in the coming years.”