A Loscoe businessman successfully used a local heritage centre as an example when showing owners and managers how to develop a theme park in China. Gary Rice runs Go Frontiers which provides training courses and translations and, through a business partner, helps companies dealing with businesses in the fast-growing Chinese economy.
He recently returned from China after being approached by a consultancy advising on expanding the park at Hainan Island near the Vietnamese border, which has themes of tropical scenery and local heritage.
Before flying out Gary visited the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre at Durban House in Eastwood which celebrates the life and works of the famous author, whose books featured mining villages across the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire countryside.
As well as the exhibitions Gary noticed the centre focus on access for all, including facilities for the different visitor age groups, disabled people, buggies, and baby-changing.
He cited these as examples of good practice when giving presentations on the needs of visitors, including those from abroad, in planning developments.
“If one person cannot access places at the theme park because there is not proper access the whole family will reject it, so it is important to get it right,” he said.
“When I checked the DH Lawrence centre it had so many positive features about it, including the fact that it had won awards.”
The training Gary gave in Hainan was very successful, resulting in the consultancy winning the long term training contract. The park is planning to develop the next phase, including hotels at a cost of millions of pounds, with the prospect of Go Frontiers giving more training to make staff ready for the next challenge.
Councillor Ian Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at Broxtowe Borough Council, which manages the Eastwood centre with Nottingham University, said: “We are delighted that D. H. Lawrence Heritage has been used as an example of good practice for accessibility to public buildings.
“ We get visitors from all over the world including China and we are more than happy to share our positive experience and knowledge with them.” Gary and his interpreter also advised on properly translating signs into meaningful English. One, at a Buddhist park, explained that staff duties were to ‘execute tourists in the most advantageous manner’!