Developing Sustainable Tourism in Devon
Discover Devon Naturally is a sustainable tourism project being run across the County of Devon. Its aim is simple - to build tourism founded on, and which respects, Devon’s high quality natural environment. We were brought in by Devon County Council to help them produce tourism strategies for two of the products that had been earmarked for development – equestrian tourism and group-based tourism.
The equestrian tourism strategy involved an audit of equestrian facilities and a survey of equestrian businesses including riding stables and horse-riding holiday operators. These consultations were supplemented by looking at existing research to see what was already known about the equestrian tourism market.
The project culminated in the preparation of an overall strategy and action plans for product development and marketing initiatives. The work included riding holidays, racing breaks and equestrian-related events. In developing a credible sustainable tourism approach to the groups market we chose not to focus on traditional sectors (e.g. coach tours and groups of 10 or more). Instead our approach centred on promoting small group travel to rural Devon, making use of distinctive rural products and activities and encouraging more off-peak business.
The resulting tourism strategies were circulated to the County’s tourism stakeholder group and were well received by Devon County Council. The latter described the strategies as “two very thorough pieces of work”… “written to a high standard and both readable and accessible”.