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Visitors to come first as Roman frontier brought to life

Other posts by  |  September 19, 2011 | 0 Comments
Romans on Hadrian's Wall

Visitors to sites along Hardian's Wall can expect to be challenged and inspired more than ever in the future. © Northumberland National Park

Visitors to Hadrian’s Wall can expect to be challenged and inspired as never before following the launch of a new cross county initiative aimed at encouraging closer working relations between the many groups and organisations involved in protecting and promoting the World Heritage Site.

The goal of the Hadrian’s Wall Interpretation Framework is to offer a better high quality understanding of the 2,000 year old Roman monument that puts people first and enables each site and museum along its 73-mile stretch to provide a different visitor experience.

The framework is the brainchild of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage. Set up in 2006, the group coordinates the management and development of the wall along its entire length from Ravenglass in Cumbria to Wallsend and South Shields on Tyneside and 10 miles either side, as a tourist destination.

The initiative was officially launched on September 14 by Professor Peter Stone, chair of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site Management Plan Committee, researcher and consultant James Rebanks, Jason Gooding, acting chief executive of Carlisle City Council, and Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage.

The Interpretation Framework is designed to help the many different organisations with an interest in Hadrian’s Wall, from local authorities and national agencies to community groups and private landowners, develop approaches for interpreting the site and its landscape in a coherent, complementary and differentiated way that will enhance and deepen the visitor experience.

Professor Stone said: “First class interpretation underpins the development of a world class visitor experience throughout Hadrian’s Wall Country, improving connectivity between sites, encouraging people to see more sites, stay longer and improving ticket sales and income generation for all.

“Good interpretation should challenge people to think, to reflect and to engage.”

James Rebanks, author of UNESCO recognised research into the social and economic benefits of investing in World Heritage, added: “UNESCO World Heritage Site status offers destinations the chance to develop a global identity and brand underpinned by authentic and distinctive values.

Hadrian's Wall

Jason Gooding, James Rebanks, Linda Tuttiett and Peter Stone at the launch of the Hadrian's Wall Interpretation Framework

“Our international research shows that the strategic and coordinated approach pioneered by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage is how the most successful sites in the world are now exploiting the World Heritage Site designation to best effect for their communities. Sites need clear and effective strategies, coordinated fundraising and investment and powerful champions.

“Our research has also shown that World Heritage Sites – if well managed and promoted – attract more international visitors, and more culturally motivated visitors. These are the most valuable visitors in the tourism marketplace.

“The past five years have seen governments, local authorities, tourism marketing organisations, and, critically, private businesses around the world start to realise that the World Heritage designation is more than simply a heritage label. It can be an important ingredient in effective place making to attract talent, trade and tourism.

“There is now a powerful body of evidence that shows that attracting inward investment relies heavily on perceptions of places, and on ‘softer’ quality of life issues. This is why dynamic cities use designations like World Heritage Site status to communicate their distinctiveness.”

Linda Tuttiet said Hadrian’s Wall has been transformed over the last 18 months with the opening of exciting new galleries and internationally significant events.

“These developments are a vital step towards realising the potential of Hadrian’s Wall as an international tourism destination.  We’re looking at generating an additional £46m of visitor revenue per year by 2015 and to create over 1,000 additional jobs.

“The publication of the Interpretation Framework provides an opportunity to celebrate how partners throughout Hadrian’s Wall Country are working together to make a step change in the visitor experience right across the World Heritage Site, bringing the Roman frontier to life.”

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