Exmoor’s MP has urged the local tourism sector to ‘get bidding’ as the Government opens up a £40 million fund to drive tourism growth across the nation.
Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative member for Bridgwater and West Somerset, says the initiative is tailor-made for Exmoor, with projects worth up to £250,000 eligible for support.
VisitEngland is opening its Discover England Fund for a three-year window with the aim of building ‘world-class’ tourism products and experiences that will attract more international as well as domestic visitors.
It’s a direct response to changing patterns in the tourism industry, where analysts have identified strong growth from markets that do not know much about England.
Mr Liddell-Grainger said he hoped Exmoor’s tourism leaders would seize an opportunity which offered tremendous possibilities for the area.
“It has long been a matter of personal regret that Exmoor is the least-promoted and least-visited of all our national parks,” he said.
“No-one has ever sold Exmoor effectively and indeed for some years measures that might have attracted more visitors to the area were actually resisted because of fears a huge influx of tourists would spoil the special nature of the place.
“Since then we have seen other national parks forge ahead. They are now offering experiences and attractions which enhance the local economy without damaging their fragile environments and I should be delighted to learn of a bid which seeks to emulate such developments here on Exmoor.
“Exmoor offers the finest walking, brilliant scenery, an outstanding and constantly expanding range of locally-produced food and drink and some superb restaurants and hotels: all the elements, in other words, necessary for the perfect holiday.
“The challenge is therefore to build on this very solid foundation and to identify projects which will enable more tourists to discover this gem in the English landscape.”