A Rural Alliances funded European tourism visit came to a close last week (Friday 13th February 2015) after two days of insightful talks, workshops and visits to some of the National Park’s leading tourism hot spots.
Hosted by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority – the lead partner on the Rural Alliances project – the transnational visit drew tourism delegates from Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands providing them with the opportunity to share ideas and look at best practice first hand in the area. The busy two day itinerary covered a diverse range of subjects including visitor management, farm diversification, buying locally, food producers and National Park tourism ambassadors.
Richard Tyler, Sustainable Tourism Manager for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said; “The last year has been particularly exciting for the Rural Alliances project and transnational visits like these are key events to gather tourism representatives from our partner Rural Alliances teams from across Europe to have a look at successful projects and plan for the future. These visits inspire innovations and provide the opportunity for European tourism delegates to network, strategise and walk away with new ideas and connections to build on the momentum of Rural Alliances – which is now becoming a huge economic drive for communities across Europe.”
“We have thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Bannau Brycheiniog this week and it has really benefited the businesses and community members that travelled as part of our party. We visited a number of great business case studies, discussed fresh ideas, common issues and how to overcome them. I think there are positives and ideas we can look to implement when we get home from each and every business we’ve been to see as part of this trip” said Anna Conner, Tourism Development Officer from MAYO County Council.
Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Chairman of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said: “These types of transnational engagement visits are very important to the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority. Not just in terms of economic value, but also to build relationships with other rural European destinations and create links that will be beneficial when looking to develop new European programmes in the future.”
The packed first day itinerary included visits to the Llangors and Blwch Rural Alliance to learn about visitor management as well as a trip to the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Visitor Centre before going to see Racquety Farm near Hay on Wye, where owner Ros Garrett gave insight into successful diversification of their farming business to include glamping, camping and canoe hire.
Day two started in the town of Crickhowell and began with a visit to and tour of the successful community run Information and Resource Centre, followed by a talk from Emma Corfield-Waters who is the inspiration behind the Crickhowell Totally Locally scheme aimed at encouraging people to choose to buy products and services in their locality. Carol Williams, Sustainable Tourism Officer at the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park also talked about how she delivered the successful National Park Ambassadors scheme before the delegates visited local food producer Welsh Venison Centre & Farm Shop.
The final visit of the trip was made to one of the most successful community engagement schemes in the National Park – Talgarth Mill and Bakers Table where delegates enjoyed a enjoyed a hearty meal and a tour of the flour mill.
Photo credit ©Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority