Things are looking very rosy indeed in south east England with Kent named International Garden Tourism Destination of the Year in the 2016 International Garden Tourism Awards organised by the International Garden Tourism Network
The awards are presented to organisations and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction.
Chief executive of Visit Kent Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE said: “We are thrilled to have been named Garden Tourism Destination of the Year by a panel of garden tourism champions from around the world. 2016 is VisitEngland’s Year of the English Garden, so the timing of this award couldn’t be better. Kent is truly The Garden of England, and we are extremely proud of the diverse offer Kent has for garden tourists.
“Not only do we have some of the most famous and beautiful gardens in the world – such as Sissinghurst and Hever Castle – but we also have ‘gardens’ producing wine, cider, beer, and fruit that are open to visitors wanting a tour with a twist, as well as alternative coastal ‘gardens’ such as our desert at Dungeness.
“Add to this National Trust and English Heritage properties with palatial yet personal grounds, unconventional landscapes such as Riverhill Himalayan Gardens and Lullingstone World Garden, horticultural literary links to Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and tranquil city-centre escapes, and Kent really does have something to offer every garden lover.”
The IGTN is led by The Canadian Garden Council and Going Gardens, a UK based garden tourism consultancy, with the support of a global network of garden leaders, and aims to increase visits and business for gardens, horticulture exhibitions and flower festivals across the world. The IGTN highlighted that tourism is the world’s fourth largest industry, with around 300 million garden tourists worldwide.