The Welsh Government’s Food Tourism Action plan, which aims to help visitors to Wales discover our world-class food and drink, will be launched by Ministers today.
Tourists are increasingly seeking local, authentic and novel experiences linked intrinsically to the places they visit. Food can become a unique element of the visitor experience, creating regional distinctiveness, and therefore an important way to encourage visitors to stop, spend and stay longer.
The Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans, and Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates will set the food and tourism sectors a challenge to raise our profile as a high quality food tourism destination.
The Action Plan launched today sets out the challenges facing tourism businesses, and food and drink producers and suggests ways these can be overcome, which include:
- Encouraging Welsh hospitality businesses to source more local produce;
- Increasing prevalence of Welsh food and drink on menus and in shops;
- Improving visitor access to Welsh food and drink.
Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans said, “Food is an essential part of the tourism offer in Wales and we want to help visitors uncover our local, culinary gems and not just leave it to chance they will find them by themselves.
“We have some of the world’s best producers of food and drink and world class chefs. We have high quality local ingredients, distinctive food and drink and interesting places to eat and all of these are becoming increasingly important to our visitors.”
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, “Wales’ selection of food and drink has never been so diverse and with this has come a growing confidence as a country which can offer visitors a great food experience alongside world-class hospitality. From thriving food festivals to award-winning restaurants and produce, Wales has something different to offer and we are committed to working with the sector to ensure we are making the most of this attraction.
“We are already making great progress in this area, with the Wales Visitors survey 2013 showing a significant improvement in satisfaction with places to eat and drink, but we can always do more. This action plan will not only bring more direct economic benefits by strengthening local supply chains between producers and tourism businesses but will also help to distinguish Wales from its competitors.”
Later today Rebecca Evans will attend a food business event at the Millennium Stadium to meet some of the companies the plan is aimed at supporting.
The event, organised jointly by Welsh Government Food and Visit Wales, brings together a broad range of food and drink producers and tourism and hospitality businesses. One of those food producers, Newport-based syrup manufacturer Clarks UK, who will be at the Millennium Stadium event, has welcomed the new action plan.
Founder Bob Clark said, “Welsh food and drink is consistently growing in stature because of its high quality and taste and our markets are constantly expanding. We need to take advantage of that interest and now is the time to develop the food tourism element. We have been fortunate to have exhibited at a number of international trade fairs with the Welsh Government’s support, enabling us to start exporting into Europe and Asia. I very much welcome this new plan which now underlines the Welsh Government’s aspirations to firmly place the Welsh food and drink industry on the world map.”