North Wales visitors get their teeth into new foodie campaign
By Ceidiog Hughes
A campaign is being launched to transform North Wales into a foodie heaven for visitors. The aim is to give tourists a taste for the area so they have an appetite to come back again – and again. It’s all part of the drive by Tourism Partnership North Wales to make the region a top five UK destination for visitors.
The renown of Welsh lamb has already travelled far and wide with the likes of American President Barack Obama and the Pope tucking in. But organisers say the Food North Wales campaign is about more than just lamb, beef and pork. Apart from the award-winning butchers there are bakers and brewers, buffalo herders and bee-keepers, fudge, paté and cheesemakers, and even a purveyor of garlic products. They will be showcased on the new Food North Wales website that’s being hailed as a gateway to gastronomic delight. The campaign will be officially launched at the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in the Conwy Valley on January 16.
Carole Startin, Marketing and Events Executive with Tourism Partnership North Wales, explained: “Food North Wales is all about bringing together for the consumer under one umbrella. “We have wonderful food and drink that’s produced locally. As well as our marvellous meat, there are our fantastic vegetables and heavenly bread, exquisite liqueurs and fine ales – they are part of the wonderful taste of North Wales. The website will also include information about where to eat and drink and the latest news stories about the fine food available in North Wales. We are what we eat and food is an integral part of our identity, it helps embed our unique sense of place. It therefore makes perfect sense for the food sector and the tourism industry to work more closely together than ever to make it easier for the tourist to find some quality food and drink while they’re here on holiday in Wales – and also help with their research before they come. As a perfect complement to our fine produce and truly exceptional restaurants, we have some fantastic food festivals across North Wales such as Conwy Feast, Mold Food and Drink Festival, Hamper Llangollen and the 700-year-old Conwy Honey Fair. We also have the newly established Clwydian Range Food Trail and we’d like to see more trails like this developed.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Tansy Rogerson, the Marketing Manager of the £6.5 million Bodnant Welsh Food Centre that was officially opened by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall last summer. Ms Rogerson said: “We’ve got so many fantastic artisan producers on our doorstep as well as nationally in Wales that we need to shout about them. The purpose of this campaign is to tell people outside Wales about the fantastic food on offer and to signpost them to where they can find it. Increasingly people want to know where their food comes from and we have 100 per cent traceability with our meat. By supporting local producers, we are keeping the economy going as well as keeping and creating jobs in rural North Wales.”
Dewi Davies, the Regional Strategy Director of Tourism Partnership North Wales, is a passionate advocate of the economic benefits of promoting the food sector. He said: “Our vision is to make North Wales a top five UK visitor destination and our strategy is geared up to achieve this goal. To be successful we have to provide brilliant visitor experiences and food is a central part of these experiences. There were already a number of good food initiatives in different corners of North Wales but we felt it was important to have an all-encompassing campaign highlighting all the great food stories that we have across the whole of the region. We have some fantastic producers – like Llaeth y Llan Village Dairy, Snowdonia Cheese, Patchwork Paté and Halen Môn – and we need to make information about them available in an interesting way to our visitors. As part of the campaign, we will identify those places where you can actually buy all this wonderful food – whether it is the Blas ar Fwyd delicatessen in Llanrwst, Edwards the butcher in Conwy, the Bison Grill at the Rhug estate, Hawarden Farm Shop or indeed Bodnant Welsh Food where the launch is taking place. All this fantastic food gives people another reason to come to North Wales, another reason to dwell – and another reason to make a return visit.”
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