Andy Poole, Chief Executive of the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere has returned from a mammoth 13,000 mile round trip to promote the famous story of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter and the English Lake District to a set of decision-making tour operators and media contacts in Japan. The trip was part of the Lake District Japan Forum delegation who visited the cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya to spread the word about all the Lake District can offer overseas visitors.
Peter Rabbit is a firm favourite in Japanese culture and Beatrix Potter has a wide popular appeal. With this in mind, Mr Poole promoted a travel itinerary orientated around Miss Potter 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 The World of Beatrix Potter is still considered a focal part of their trip to the Lake District. The Attraction currently welcomes around 15,000 Japanese visitors each year and is expecting more growth and an increase in visitor figures in the years to come. An indoor English Tea Garden has been created to meet this increased demand from Japanese tourists who alongside visiting the exhibition can enjoy a Lakeland lunch or afternoon tea experience with a visit from Peter Rabbit.
Andy Poole said: “According to Visit Britain figures, 81 million Japanese people travel abroad each year, but currently only 250,000 of those come to the UK, so the trip to Japan is an essential part of our business development to ensure that the World of Beatrix Potter can take a share of that very competitive market. Our visit was extremely successful, despite the group experiencing an earthquake and narrowly missing a double-typhoon hitting Tokyo! It was wonderful to see how loved Peter Rabbit is in Japan, mainly because he is so cute and ‘English’, both qualities much admired in Japanese culture. I have been extremely impressed by the genuine welcome from our Japanese hosts and their values of politeness and respect. We look forward to welcoming more Japanese visitors to the Lakes in the coming years.”