Funded by the EU Interreg IVB project COLLABOR8 and supported by Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and Brecon Beacons Tourism, five local business owners from Bwlch, Crickhowell, Llangattock, Llanvihangel Crucorney, and Sennybridge joined nine other partner regions across Europe and Wales on the two day trip which involved taking the visiting business owners on a tour of sustainable tourism facilities in Devon and Cornwall.
Hosted by the West Country Rivers Trust, the exchange the group visited a variety of interesting businesses leading the way in sustainable tourism including activity and accommodation providers and local food producers, as well as some of the key visitor attractions and initiatives including the Eden Project and Jamie Oliver’s renowned Fifteen restaurant. In addition, group workshops highlighted the importance of quality sense of place and sustainability in tourism.
Whilst there, the representatives had an opportunity to discuss their respective businesses, exchange ideas and learn from similar businesses located within the project’s five participating countries: Wales, England, Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium.
Nick Stewart, COLLABOR8 Project Officer for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said: “All of the businesses involved are very open to share their experiences and ideas with the visiting business, so this programme has so many benefits to tourism businesses in the Brecon Beacons. We focus on encouraging relevant tourism-related businesses from the Brecon Beacons to work together on practical projects and initiatives in order to create quality, sustainable products and services that promote local ‘sense of place’. The uniqueness of this area and the importance of embracing appropriate ‘new technology’ to enhance networking and marketability of businesses benefit not only the businesses themselves, but also our visitors and residents.” he concluded.
Speaking of the benefits of the exchange, Gwenllian Jones, owner of Pen y Dre Farm Holidays in the Brecon Beacons National Park said: “The exchange was a great opportunity for networking and to hear what other businesses are doing. There was plenty of food for thought and ideas that could possibly be used in our area to improve the visitor experience and help the sustainability of our environment and businesses in the area.”
James Suter, co-owner of Gliffaes Hotel in the Brecon Beacons National Park said: “I went to Cornwall with my community hat on; to see how local businesses work together for the common good of promoting an area as a destination and also to learn more about sustainable tourism. The latter we learnt a great deal about, but the trip also gave me opportunity to reflect on what Cornwall could learn from Crickhowell, as well as what we could take from Cornwall. Reflecting on our own strengths, I was pleased to realise that CRiC and Promote Crickhowell have a lot to share with other destinations about joint working and collaborative efforts on tourism initiatives. The trip also gave us an excellent opportunity to network with other businesses and learn from them. All in very worthwhile and well put together.”
Punch Maughan, owner of Glynmeddig Bunkhouse and Stay at No 10 in the Brecon Beacons National Park and Director of Brecon Beacons Tourism Association said: “I found the trip hugely worthwhile as having gone on the activities tour I was able to see how other businesses and organisations were working together in tourism and so gained ideas for my own business but also for the broader Brecon Beacons as to how we could be more effective. The trip was also an opportunity to spend time with colleagues in tourism and talk about some of the more general matters we never find time to discuss in meetings.”
COLLABOR8’s next transnational exchange will take place in October 2010 at the New Dutch Waterline in the Netherlands. For more information on how you can take part in the benefits of Collabor8 please contact Nick Stewart on 01874 620 490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Photographs: Copyright of Collabor8
Collabor8 exchange delegates taking the opportunity to visit some of the sustainable businesses along the Camel Trail in Cornwall. The Camel Trail is one of the most successful recreational trail in the UK, providing access to the beautiful Cornish countryside along a disused railway line between Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow.
NOTES TO EDITORS
• The COLLABOR8 Project is 50% funded by the ERDF Interreg IVB North West Europe Programme. This partnership project involves nine different partners from Ireland, Wales, England, Netherlands and Belgium. It aims to actively involve clusters of small businesses in developing quality, sustainability and services that promote local ‘sense of place’. In this way each tourism cluster will be able to capitalise on the uniqueness of their regions to compete better in the EU and global markets.
• The partners involved in the COLLABOR8 project are: South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. (IE) -(Lead Partner); DLG Government Service for Land and Water Management: Office of the National Project New Dutch Waterline Department (NL); Stichting Studio VMK (NL); Flemish Land Agency (BE); Tourism East Flanders (BE), Westcountry Rivers Trust (UK); South Downs Joint Committee (UK); Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (UK); and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (UK).
• The exchange programmes fit in perfectly with the whole ethos of the project which is to develop clusters of businesses in the creative arts, cultural, countryside, recreational, local food and hospitality sectors who then co-operate in cross selling the unique cultural identity of their area to potential visitors thus maximising the economic benefit to the area overall.
• The Transnational meeting will in addition provide each region with the opportunity to examine and target particular market segments in the other partner regions with a view to increasing the numbers of visitors travelling between the different Regions involved in the project. All of the learning and resources generated through the work of the COLLABOR8 project in the partner regions will be made available free to all the other partners to ensure that visitors to the all areas enjoy a unique experience based on a quality, sustainable product.