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|Kent gets its foreign phrases off pat ahead of the Games|
Award-winning radio presenter Pat Marsh has been boosting the county’s tourism champions’ bid to make Kent the most welcoming destination this summer for overseas visitors.
Pat and his co-presenter and producer, Laura Earl, at BBC Radio Kent joined forces with Visit Kent to help people across the county brush up their language skills ready for an influx of visitors for the Torch Relay and the Olympics and Paralympics.
Pat devoted part of his Monday afternoon show over six weeks to host Visit Kent and Kent Greeters with a range of languages at their fingertips in the radio station’s Tunbridge Wells studio.
The linguists, all volunteer Greeters working with Visit Kent throughout the year to welcome visitors to the county, taught Pat’s listeners a range of key phrases in different languages.
And they passed on their top tips to avoid offending international visitors drawing on their own experiences living, working and travelling in a wealth of countries across Europe as well as in Japan, China, Russia and Mongolia.
In their chosen languages of the week, which included French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and Arabic, the linguists translated Pat’s key show phrases as well as jingles introducing the news, and traffic and travel information.
Furthermore, after their 30-minute appearances, the highly-skilled Kent Greeters recorded welcome greetings and appropriate phrases for the popular radio station to use during the Games.
Sandra Matthews-Marsh, chief executive at Visit Kent, said: “For many people Kent is the Gateway to the Olympics and the Paralympics. We have 12 countries already signed up to train in Kent at 37 different venues.
“We will be welcoming overseas visitors to join us for the Torch Relay celebrations and during the Games more than 450,000 people will be coming into Kent via the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel and Eurostar.
“We are also expecting many overseas visitors to stay in the county taking advantage of our excellent routes into London but escaping the stress of the city. Some will be guests of people they already know in Kent. Others will take advantage of our 35,900 bed spaces in hotels, B&Bs, self-catering accommodation and campsites.
“Thanks to BBC Radio Kent, which has more than 258,000 listeners, we are now so much better prepared to give our international guests a really warm welcome. As a result, I hope that they, and their friends and families, will be eager to come back to Kent over the coming years when they will have more time to explore all our world-class tourist attractions and visitor destinations.”
Pat said: ““The pride and enthusiasm that the Kent Greeters brought to our listeners, was incredibly infectious. They made me realise just how easy it is for us all to share our passion for Kent, with visitors from overseas.”
Paul Leaper, managing editor for BBC Radio Kent, said:“It was a pleasure to welcome in a selection of Kent Greeters to hear for ourselves their knowledge and enthusiasm for our great county.
“The Olympics and post-Olympic period are important times to make visitors especially welcome and now BBC Radio Kent’s listeners have had the chance to hear first-hand what our visitors can expect over the coming months.”