Tourism chiefs say Herne Bay won’t tempt Guardian readers after leaving it out of national advert for the district
Tourism bosses have been accused of overlooking Herne Bay after promoting Whitstable and Canterbury in a national newspaper.
Officials at Visit Canterbury paid up to £10,000 for the full-page advertising feature in the Guardian Travel Guide, with a mention for the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival, Whitstable Oyster Festival, The Beaney, Roman Museum and the Marlowe Theatre – but not the Kings Hall or the Herne Bay Festival.
Deesons and The Goods Shed in Canterbury, Jojo’s in Tankerton and the Sportsman at Seasalter are also given a plug, but there is no reference to any Herne Bay venue, with celebrity favourite Le Petit Poisson, the top-rated Oyster and Chop House and new restaurant Mushy Peas all left out.
The omission was raised at a meeting of Herne Bay Area Panel by Sue Austen from BayGuide, the team staging a festival to celebrate the centenary of artist Marcel Duchamp’s stay in Herne Bay.
She was speaking to support their application for funding to help promote the festival in August and said visitors were expected from America and Europe as well as all across the country.
Showing councillors a one-off design by cartoonist Ralph Steadman, she said:
“What you will get for your money is this, a specially designed poster from an internationally respected artist to promote Herne Bay. What you won’t get is a full page Guardian advert about Canterbury and Whitstable that nowhere mentions Herne Bay.”
The first paragraph of the advertorial refers to the district’s “perfect blend of heritage, culture and coast”, and it goes on to recommend a stroll along Tankerton Slopes to savour “Whitstable’s beautiful sunsets” – ignoring Herne Bay’s beaches just a few miles away.
It praises Whitstable’s “picturesque” appearance, the harbour and the retail village there – but not Herne Bay pier, due to have its own selection of beach hut shops this summer.
Jenny Cross, from the Friends of Herne Bay Museum, said she was disappointed with the advert. In a letter to council bosses, she said:
“We have a beach, huts, ice-cream, fish ‘n chips, three art galleries, museum, festival, sailing club, yacht club, even half a pier! This summer we have a festival celebrating a hundred years since Marcel Duchamp, the most influential artist of the 20th century spent a summer in Herne Bay. Given all this, plus loads of independent shops and cafes, the least you could do is give us a mention!”
But Janice McGuinness, head of culture at Canterbury City Council, argued Guardian readers would not be tempted by Herne Bay. She said:
“With all opportunities to promote the district, including articles such as this, we always consider who our target market is. For the Guardian, the focus of this advertorial was on culture, heritage and food. The council’s approach here was to focus on the brands most likely to catch the attention of the Guardian Weekend’s readers and attract them to the Visit Canterbury website.”
She said the website contained information about Herne Bay and the district’s villages, and the town would be promoted “on other channels”. She added:
“Our Visit Canterbury Team carries out an enormous amount of promotion for the district and Herne Bay features regularly in this work. We will promote the town and the forthcoming Duchamp and Herne Bay Festivals through other channels over the coming months when we highlight the excellent cultural programme happening over the summer in Herne Bay, Whitstable and Canterbury.”
Canterbury Times 23rd May 2013