Five East Devon towns will be working together more closely to promote resilient and sustainable tourism across the region. This initiative, which aims to help local businesses find new markets and transform East Devon into a leader in Green Tourism, was made possible by a substantial grant from East Devon District Council’s Innovation and Resilience Fund.
Lead partner, Sidmouth Town Council, has seen a three-year investment in its Visit Sidmouth brand push the town to the fifth top trending holiday destination in the UK. The new project aims to build on this success by providing individual and complimentary town profiles for partners Seaton, Honiton, Ottery St Mary and Budleigh Salterton.
Of the bid success Cllr Stewart Lucas, Deputy Mayor, Ottery St Mary Town Council said: “Ottery St Mary Town Council is very excited to be part of this collaboration and looks forward to working together to revitalise and further develop tourism opportunities within our parish. In these challenging times it is more important than ever for us to work together, share resources and be creative in finding new ways of stimulating local economies. This grant will allow us to develop strategies which bring together the need for improved environmental & climate awareness and the promotion of tourism within the locality of the partner towns”.
By developing the towns as linked destinations, the aim is to showcase the best our area has to offer. Local tourism businesses have been hard-hit by the pandemic and global events, but this collaboration will help them in their recovery. The project will enable local businesses to reach a wider online audience and provide an online shopping and sales platform. It also aims to provide reliable and sustainable year-round employment. The project will be delivered by a team of professionals, all of them based in the South West.
Cllr Paul Hayward, East Devon District Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for the Economy, said: “East Devon District Council’s Innovation & Resilience Fund Panel was delighted to approve grant funding for this project which will see our towns working collaboratively to promote tourism in the District. Tourism is a key sector for the local economy and one we are keen to support including through our forthcoming tourism strategy. This project will also help to support sustainable tourism and the transition to a net zero economy.
Sustainability, inclusivity and green tourism are key priorities. The partners share a commitment to preserving and curating the natural environment that makes East Devon such a unique place to live, work and visit. Sidmouth will also be at the forefront of developing a Carbon Action Plan for tourism.
Cllr Louise Cole, Chair of Tourism and Economy at Sidmouth Town Council, said: “We know businesses and local groups in the Sid Valley are already taking climate action and making changes to reduce their carbon footprint. This project will help them do even more, and to share what they do with others. We are excited about working collaboratively to achieve far more than each town could individually to create a destination presence that has so much to offer. The need to carefully develop a sustainable tourism offer to attract visitors who also want to make responsible choices has never been so important. This is a huge boost that will help us to balance promoting the best of our area, develop innovative tourist businesses and protect what makes Sidmouth and East Devon special.”