Lifetime achievement for man who put the great in Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Alan Carr
A local man has been putting the great in Great Yarmouth for almost 30 years – and recently won a lifetime achievement award as he enters retirement.
The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award, sponsored by Hoseasons, was presented to Alan Carr at the East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022 for his work championing local tourism, which was a major factor in the economic regeneration of Great Yarmouth and the communities surrounding it.
Over a period of 28 years, Alan was the driving force behind major events such as the first Great Yarmouth Air Show and the Maritime Festival. He also oversaw the regeneration of the Golden Mile, Great Yarmouth’s historic seafront.
“I have attended the East of England Tourism Awards on many occasions and never dreamt that I would be called onstage at Duxford to receive the Outstanding Contribution award,” Alan says. “It was truly a special night.”
Alan celebrated his win with friend and mentor David Marsh, whom he has known for the past 25 years. David was the founding chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority and the initial chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area. He organised a special celebration lunch with Alan and the honorary presidents.
In 2021, Alan retired from his long-held post as chief executive of the Great Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area. He previously worked as the chief executive of the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority between 1994 and 2014 and was also Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Head of Tourism between 1994 and 2018.
Prior to his work in East Anglia, Alan worked as an entertainment manager in a Dorset hotel for three years and in Skegness for eight years organising shows and outdoor events. Alan affectionately refers to these halcyon days as his “showbiz years”.
“I have worked with so many amazing people from the public and private sectors,” he says. “I feel particularly privileged to have been one of the custodians of the Great Yarmouth tourism offer for nearly 30 years.”
Alan considers maintaining close working relationships between the public and private sectors his greatest achievement.
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“Our close partnership has been envied throughout the eastern region and among UK seaside resorts,” he says. “It’s about adopting a TEAM mentality: Together Everyone Achieves More!”
But without Alan steering the ship, what's next for Great Yarmouth in the wake of the pandemic?
“Covid’s impact was devastating for all of us and has created a significant challenge for the tourism sector,” he says. “Great Yarmouth needs to build back its visitor numbers to pre-pandemic levels. Clearly with all the activities and developments going on in Great Yarmouth, it's moving through a renaissance.”
Now that Alan has reached his well-earned retirement, he intends to focus on his family.
“For me, the biggest personal challenge was getting my work-life balance in order,” Alan says. “My retirement is an opportunity to reassess. It’s now about living life to the full. I have recently become a grandad and understandably my grandson is my pride and joy.”
When asked what is the single most important piece of advice he has for tourism businesses, Alan quoted Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States: “‘People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ It’s about putting the customer first and making people happy.
“Always see the best in people, which will ensure they grow into a loyal and effective team.”
Archant organises and hosts the annual East of England Tourism Awards to recognise and celebrate those businesses and individuals that contribute to the regional visitor economy. To register for more information on the 2022/23 competition visit www.tourismawards.co.uk