England has just been voted the second-best country in the world in which to travel (announced by Lonely Planet). Second? From a marketing perspective that’s disappointing…really disappointing. Firstly, why did it take so long? Secondly, considering Torquay is in England, why the hell were we not first?
At number one is the country of Bhutan.
OK, it’s in the Himalayas. It has history, culture, scenery, fresh air and admirable sustainability policies. Pretty impressive.
But where’s the nearest beach? Where can you get a decent cream tea for your mountain-weary legs?
Where be pasties?
In third is North Macedonia – formerly known as just Macedonia.
Again, it’s a nice looking place with plenty of beaches. But when one of it’s most popular attractions is called Ohrid (we’re hearing “orrid”), it does make you wonder what else you’re going to find.
(And yes, before you say it, we know we have places in this country that sound just as unappealing – we’re looking right at you Shitterton in Dorset.)
Anyway, with tongue firmly in cheek, perhaps we should make our marketing case for Torquay a little stronger, with some actual facts.
Let’s try this.
- In 1927, archaeologists in the UK unearthed part of what turned out to be an anatomically modern human jawbone.
- Subsequent carbon dating initially placed it between 34,000 – 37,000 years old.
- Recently, however, further investigations have actually placed it between 41,500 – 44,200 years old.
“What’s so special about that?”, we hear you cry.
Well, this makes it the… earliest known fossil of a MODERN HUMAN in the whole of North Western Europe.
If that wasn’t significant enough, further examinations of the SAME SITE found that two other species of ancient human had also lived there.
- Homo neanderthalensis – Neanderthal axes were found dating to approx 90,000 years ago.
- Homo heidelbergensis – Stone tools were found dating to an unbelievable 500,000 years ago.
Interesting, eh? Except it gets better.
Did you know that of the 4 species of human that have ever been found in the British Isles, 3 LIVED AT THIS SITE ALONE?
Well, you do now. And the site in question?
Kent’s Cavern in Torquay, Torbay, The English Riviera, England.
Just up the road, in fact, from our own little cave.
So, what does this actually tell us?
Well, it tells us that some of the earliest known modern humans lived right here in Torbay.
Chances are, initially at least, they were wanderers. Hairy-backed back-packers. Prehistoric tourists.
No doubt they made their way slowly up through Europe checking places out for the food, the nightlife, the accommodation, the climate. Then, one summer’s day, that hair on the back of the hairy neck moment…
Sunset over Torbay.
In reality, like many modern humans since, they probably found the place so captivating they just had to stay.
Same with the other two species. Word of mouth spreads. Neolithic news soon gets around. Maybe Torbay was like “Club Med” for cavemen.
Except literally with clubs.
We can almost hear them now…
“There’s this awesome place. Nice weather, great seafood, comfortable caves…it’s lovely. You should go.”
It truly was a lonely planet back then.
The entire population of Europe was probably less than that of one of our current major cities.
And yet, think about it.
The oldest known “modern tourist” in Western Europe chose to come to the English Riviera on holiday, and then kept coming back as they evolved.
Millennia ago, Torquay was right up there helping England market for the No.1 travel destination and, today, it still is.
We find that fascinating.
Fascinating, but not that difficult to understand.
There’s absolutely no doubt in our minds that the South West of England is a wonderful place to live and work.
And the jam atop that vast dollop of cream is Torbay, or The English Riviera as it’s also known.
This beautiful area, of which Kent’s Cavern is a small part, still retains the warm heart of a traditional seaside holiday resort.
It is modernising, albeit slowly. Like most places it requires town-centre regeneration.
But the whole of the bay is now a Unesco Global Geopark. It has international geological significance.
Which now means the towns of Brixham, Paignton, Torquay and its marine environment too, are all passionately protected. And this makes modernisation more difficult.
Conservation inevitably involves some form of reining in, some form of braking, it has to. As much as it would be great to have diverse, vibrant shopping centres, it’s not always instantly compatible with sustainable conservation policies.
Still, once you visit this area of the planet, it doesn’t take long to realise that what the rest of the world has to offer in parts, we have in glorious abundance…
no green screen required
What you see, is what you get! And what you get is this.
- A temperate climate.
- Thousands of miles of wild, rugged coastline.
- Beautiful beaches, marshland, estuaries, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, forests, lowlands, highlands, moorland…
- Lush, rolling, fertile countryside parcelled up by hedges that alone are over 500 years old.
- Modern, bustling, vibrant cities.
- Sustainable, artisan, forward-thinking village and town communities.
- More history than you’ll ever want to know about – just ask any local school child.
- Cultural traditions so old nobody can remember what they’re even about anymore.
- Ideas that are so new nobody understands them yet or, perhaps, ever will.
And all of this in a place where, should anything go wrong, the safety blanket of modern civilisation is comfortingly close by.
So let’s face it Bhutan, no thanks. Lovely as you are, you’d play hell with our bunions.
And make-up in North Macedonia? Nope. Ain’t happening.
truly timeless tourism
Mother Nature does our marketing in Torquay and the South West.
In a marketing context, Torquay, Torbay and the whole of the South West of England has superb content, leads to guaranteed engagement and provides unbeatable value.
For filming, for photography, for business, for leisure, for life in general, it has it all covered. So, number 2? Really?
Bhutan, North Macedonia, try all you like, but in the long run folks you just can’t win.
You may as well give in now. We have human history on our side.
And, if you don’t believe us, take a long look in the mirror Homo Sapiens. You’ve been holidaying here for over 45,000 years.
You know it. You can feel it deep down in your fossils.
It’s modern tourism for modern humans. Always has been. Always will.
Famous Rebel: Marketing for Modern Humans