Discovering Chris 

At Chris’ suggestion we meet at Chambers for a coffee which turns into a couple, which turned into a bagel for me and cake for Chris (delicious).

 

The man who runs Discover Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh is also a face in Folkestone, in a non- East End gangster type of way.  Even the Mayor stops for a chat.

 

Having moved from Sussex when he was two, Chris has lived in Folkestone on and off since, with the off side taking him all over the place.  Working in travel and tourism since the 80’s, Chris’ first job in the industry was right here in Folkestone.

 

Discover Folkestone & Romney Marsh was started in 2003 with seed money from Eurotunnel which was for a three year period.  Chris came on board in November 2006 and re-instated its fortunes and it has been running ever since.

 

Discover Folkestone & Romney Marsh was started in 2003 with seed money from Eurotunnel which was for a three year period.  Chris came on board in November 2006 and re-instated its fortunes and it has been running ever since.

 

A typical day is, you could say varied for Chris: “I will start the day by going into the office and dealing with messages and then posting out brochures, which today has been to people in the UK, France, Spain and Canada.” These are for people who have requested information about the area.  Canada. Just saying.

 

“I then wrote an itinerary for a group travel organisation that are coming over next year with ideas for days out, so I included things like a drop off at the Lower Leas Coastal Park, where the group will make their way to The Grand for a coffee and also a visit to the National Army Museum exhibition at the Town Hall. 

 

“Sometimes during the course of the day, like today, I will get a call from ASDA (Chris’ office is above the store in the Bouverie Place management suite) and pop down to talk to some visitors who may be lost and need directions to somewhere, or it could be someone needing information about the area, like where is a good place to eat.

 

“I have also taken a call today from someone with a history enquiry, I will often have enquiries from historical societies, as well as a call from a photo-journalist at a national newspaper who is writing a book about walks in the UK with illustrations.

 

“And after we finish our coffee I will deliver the bulk supply of brochures to my information points.

“It’s not necessarily about tourism all the time but it is part of the visitor experience.”

Cocquelle in France is one of Chris’ information points and he is the only person that is allowed to put his information there. This is not a commercial agreement like other UK towns and cities, this is only happened due to Chris relationship with Eurotunnel.

 

So what is the best bit about Chris’ job? “Talking to people, from customers to the general public.”

 

And Folkestone? “The green spaces, the architecture, some of the people, no don’t put that! Seriously though it’s the atmosphere.  A lot of people say Folkestone is dead from the knees up or

the neck down but actually, for me I think Folkestone has a spirit.  And when it’s good it’s fantastic and a force for positive change.”

 

So if I could get Chris to sum up Folkestone in five words: “Breath of Fresh air” is the answer, sounds good to me, even if it’s only four words and he is smoking a fag.

 

 Outside Chambers