Back of the net

12 August 2019 | Lloyd Hughes


What do you think of when someone mentions Norwich to you?

For me, it’s canary yellow (the football team), Delia Smith (the football team) and Alan Partridge (back of the net).

Naturally, from that, you can probably tell I’ve never been there.

I’m sure Norvicians despair at the thin list of things commonly associated with their city, which do it no justice whatsoever.

Part of the problem is, I expect, its location.

I’ve got a reasonable knowledge of UK geography, but being based between the West Country and Edinburgh, it means my well-worn travel path predominantly takes in the M5/M6/M74 and, on occasion, the M1/A1.

Anything east of Leicester, and my awareness falls of a cliff.

Norwich is considerably east of Leicester.

Now, I lament not having ever visited Cambridge (and do indeed plan to), but while Norwich piques my curiosity, it just seems too remote to go out of my way to seriously consider paying it a visit. Even if I do like Alan Partridge and Colman’s mustard.

Over the weekend, however, Norwich was given a tourism boost from a somewhat unusual source.

The CEO of Vietnam’s flagship airline (Vietnam Airlines, funnily enough), has ranked Norwich right up there as a destination of note. He’s put it on a par with Komodo Island (of Komodo dragon fame) and the Mekong Delta, writing about them alongside Norwich in a welcome letter in the airline’s inflight magazine, Heritage.

Not stopping there, the magazine also commissioned a full-length feature on Norwich, highlighting its many attractions and hailing the ‘old-fashioned glamour’ and ‘medieval beauty’ of the city; labelling it an ‘international destination’.

It also noted its impressive Cathedral, with the second tallest spire in the UK – an observation that will no doubt go down well with any Russian fliers looking for something similar to Salisbury’s famed offering.

Given the magazine’s enthusiastic appraisal then, I feel somewhat sheepish for never having considered heading there before.

It turns out, that Norwich is actually fairly well lauded having been voted ‘UK’s happiest city to work in’ in 2016, as well as being named as England’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2012.

I’m generally a firm advocate of holidaying in Britain. However, my eyes are usually drawn to Scotland, the South East, the North West, the North East, Wales, but very rarely have I ever considered East Anglia.

Let’s blame the motorway systems and Alan Partridge, shall we?

It’s to my shame then, that my attention has been pointed towards Norwich by way of an article in an inflight magazine for a Vietnamese airline – and one I’ve never flown with at that.

While it exposes my apparently poor awareness of what the UK has to offer, it actually serves to highlight just how important PR can be.

Norwich will no doubt see a welcome tourism boost off the back of it, especially amongst the wealthy in Southeast Asia. Something that will set the coffers of Norvician businesses ringing with tourist trade, while Delia yells "Let's be 'avin' you!" with reckless abandon, I'm sure.

If you want to PR your location, why not get in touch?