Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Linda Tuttiett on Hadrians Wall Heritage

As chief executive of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, Linda Tuttiett is in a position of great responsibility, but also one of great privilege.

The wall dates back to AD122, and was formerly one of the major frontiers of the Roman Empire. Centuries later the 73-mile- long World Heritage Site is now owned by a number of different people, but each part is cared for by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage.

“It is wonderful to be part of what is the first trans-national World Heritage Site,” says Linda proudly. “It is one of the most important parts of British history, and it is for us to promote it to the rest of the UK and the world.”

Up until around 25 years ago however, the wall was failing and it was realised that a more coordinated approach was needed to protect it. Eventually it was decided that a more coordinated approach to supporting it was needed, creating the Hadrian’s Wall Heritage organisation as it is today.

“We bring together different owners under one voice and in this way are able to develop an audience who care about it,” she continues. “We have a unique management model, and people have come from all over the world – Vietnam, Portugal and Italy to name but a few - to see how we do it and it’s great to be able to build relationships with them.”

Indeed, there is an incredibly big audience who care about it, and the Wall has become a brand for the destination as a whole. Statistics show that occupancy levels in hotels and bed and breakfasts 10 miles north and south of the wall have increased by 17% since 2008, and Linda has even higher aspirations for the future.

“Our visitor numbers are growing faster than any other part of the North East or the Lake District,” she continues. “And last year the Wall attracted an £880 million visitor spend to the North East and Cumbria.

“Our ultimate aims is to attract even more visitors and investment to the area, which we believe could create 6000 further jobs in the corridor around Hadrian’s Wall – so there is a lot of potential.”

She and her team are now working to transform the forts and museums around the Wall, as well as formulating plans to strengthen their communications and marketing strategy. Next year is also shaping up to be a special one, after Hadrian’s Wall was chosen to host an art installation for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which is set to coincide with the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“We were incredibly proud when it was chosen as part of the Olympiad project,” she recounts “The installation will be based around the idea of transmitting a message, and with large portions of the wall lit up with digital artwork, we hope to attract around 50,000 visitors.

“It has tremendous international potential, and while it is a bit of a culture clash, I think it’s quite appropriate really, especially as the Romans were so good at communicating themselves!”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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