Tourism Business Chat - With Mary Sparrow, co-owner of Hippersons Boatyard
With Mary Sparrow, co-owner of Hippersons Boatyard and Chair of Visit the Broads
How does a headteacher at the top of her career come to live and work on the Broads? We find out, as Mary takes us on a journey that ‘cruises’ through a career working with troubled teens, into a battle with cancer, and out into the warmth and wonder of Beccles, a hugely popular part of the Norfolk Broads.
After being told that the stress of her job was the likely cause of her cancer returning, Mary and her husband took this as a sign to pack up their London life and pursue their dream, starting a business in boat repairing. Mary was adamant, though, that she didn’t want to work in tourism!
Some number crunching later, and they realised that tourism was where their creativity and success lied, and the floating pods, day cruisers and water sports soon followed.
Mary is outspoken about the challenges tourism faces when it comes to customer behaviour and trends, banning alcohol on board. She discusses how they have embraced social media, and the problem with green washing.
The Sparrows see themselves as ‘custodians of the river’ and, with rewilding and other projects, aim to leave the river better than they found it.
This is not to be missed for anyone thinking of investing in tourism, or who ever doubted why they got into it in the first place. Mary’s story, with her passion, is a shining example of what can be achieved in the sector, particularly with sustainability in mind, and why so many visitors continue to flock to the Broads.
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Find more episodes from the series by visiting www.larking-gowen.co.uk/tourism-insights
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