Inbound operator Pinpoint Britain is developing tour itineraries across East Anglia as part of the region’s Friendly Invasion initiative.
Created to commemorate the arrival of more than half a million US soldiers during the Second World War, the Visit East Anglia project aims to attract visitors to explore Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.
Many of those visiting ‘Friendly Invasion’ sites will be US veterans and their families, but the tours will also appeal to those wishing to explore the airfields and military history of East Anglia and other attractions, such as the cathedrals of Norwich and Bury St Edmunds.
Tricia Handley-Hughes, Pinpoint Britain director, said: “We have identified an enormous appetite for World War Two ancestry and tourists wanting to visit the airfields that were home to heroic names such as James Stewart and Glenn Miller.
“Ex-pilots will even have the opportunity to re-live the past by flying a B17 over East Anglia in a simulator.
“These tours fit our brand perfectly, as they are niche, bespoke and packed with heritage and culture – and we’re delighted to be among the first to be part of this programme.”
Visitors can stay in hotels which hosted the Americans, such as the Swan in Lavenham (pictured), Suffolk, where the Airmen’s Bar has a collection of signatures and mementos on the walls.
Ann Steward, The Friendly Invasion project manager, added: “The Friendly Invasion brings together collaboration between Visit Essex, Visit Suffolk, Visit Cambridge, and Visit Norfolk, together with Imperial War Museum Duxford, The American Cemetery and 2nd Air Division Memorial Library to promote and celebrate the support from the USAAF.
“We have been working closely with The World War II Museum in New Orleans and with Bomber Groups in the UK and US who have expressed their keen interest in this project.
“We are very confident that this will boost tourism to East Anglia and draw attention to many of our hidden secrets.”
Pictured is the Swan, Lavenham. Credit Ian Stolerman.