Tourism & Leisure Business of the YearBack to Winners
Sponsored by Southeastern
The Aspinall Foundation’s Howletts Wild Animal Park and Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve are breeding sanctuaries for some of the most endangered species in the world.
The business aims to return captive bred animals from the parks back to protected areas of their natural habitats wherever possible.
The wild animal parks in Kent are two of the county’s most popular, and both Howletts and Port Lympne pride themselves on being different to the typical, outdated ethos of a traditional zoo.
Animals are provided with large enclosures, featuring an appropriate habitat and foliage to replicate their natural surroundings.
Each centre also introduces new species and animal enclosures, whilst running exhibits such as Dinosaur Forest and the upcoming Animals of the Ice Age exhibition.
The companies offer additional charged experiences, such as animal encounters, private safaris, team building workshops, dusk safaris, laser clay pigeon shooting, zorbing and archery, themed restaurant events and outdoor activities.
At the wild animal parks, the business welcomed 381,350 visitors and overnight guests in 2017. The Port Lympne Hotel hosted 148 weddings and corporate events, and 363 people enjoyed a trip on the popular Dusk Safari.
The company invests heavily in staff training, and supports the local community in a number of different ways.
Assistant communications and PR manager, Amanda McCabe, said: “For more than 40 years, the wild animal parks have maintained the reputation of being two of the county’s most popular visitor attractions. “We constantly strive to expand what we do to appeal to regular and new visitors. “Continued investment enables us to provide unrivalled experiences in Europe to an everdemanding tourism market, and to continue sending endangered animals to in situ projects across the globe.”