Here at DZG we’re flying the flag for English Tourism Week.
With hundreds of the world’s rarest animals, an 11th century castle and a collection of iconic Modernist architecture, there is lots for visitors to discover.
We are keen supporters of the weeklong celebratory national event, which runs from March 29 April 6 and showcases the diversity and quality of the UK’s tourism industry and its value to the country’s economy.
And as one of the country’s busiest zoos we’ve got plenty to be proud of.
CEO Peter Suddock, pictured above, said: “Tourism is vitally important to the West Midlands economy, bringing in one billion pounds. DZG plays its part by thriving as a totally unique attraction. We regularly attract visitors from across the country as well as overseas who want a fabulous family day out or who come to take part in our immensely popular Keeper for a Day experiences, which raise money for our conservation and research work.”
Continued efforts to develop the 40-acre Castle Hill site and invest in the animal collection has resulted in record breaking visitor figures over the last few years, with 264,000 people flocking through DZG’s turnstiles in 2013 alone a 13,000 growth on the previous year – and we’ve had more than 30 million visitors since the zoo opened 77 years ago.
Mr Suddock added: “We’re in a prime location, in the heart of the country, with easy access to motorways and road networks and we have four million people living within an hour’s travel.
“Our use of the daily website and social media updates are also generating lots of interest and giving us access to a whole new market.
“We also have strong roots in the region’s history and have many familiar faces who have grown up with us and have been visiting since they were a child, who are now returning with their grandchildren.”
Over the last seven decades there have been lots of changes and improvements to the zoo; none more so than today, with ongoing multi-million pound restoration projects to repair and renovate four of the site’s Tecton buildings, including the iconic entrance, Safari Shop, Bear Ravine and Kiosk One.
Funded by a £1.15 million HLF contribution and the zoo’s own coffers, the investment covers a new retail complex, a Tecton interpretation centre and toilet block as well as the restoration of the site’s 1958 chairlift, which was reopened in August 2012 following popular demand and we’ve discovered 72 per cent of our height-compatible visitors use it!
“We always listen and respond to customer feedback and our continued investment and changes to the site in recent years have only enhanced visitor experiences,” added Mr Suddock.
“As well as investments in our historical buildings, we’re also in the process of unifying signage across the site. ERDF funding has enabled us to produce in-house colourful and informative signs, which feature magnificent photographs of the zoo collection past and present, which again was in direct response to visitor comments.
“We also regularly invest in our animal collection, with recent additions to our Sumatran tigers, Asiatic lions, Humboldt penguins and Gelada baboons, which are all popular animals with our visitors.”
And there’s plenty still to come, with a Castle Interpretation Centre featuring live an