On 25th April the UKVA and EWP held an extremely useful meeting with Senior officers at Visit Britain (VB), which has now put us on a pathway to an outline industry strategy. This followed a discussion I had with Viscountess Cobham, former Chairman of VB, some months back.
We met with key senior staff and will be working with them to ensure we can integrate our work on tourism into theirs by the end of the summer with further development of it spanning future years. In other words with Mark Harvey (Chapel Down and EWP, Julia and myself and a senior team of four from VB and Visit England we are essentially an externalised sub-group tasked with developing the strategy for exploiting and developing the tourism potential of vineyards across the UK. This includes helping smaller and medium sized operations develop and enhance their offer with their own local Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) to tap into food and drink initiatives being developed nationally and locally.
At the premium end of the market but with a downward cascade of benefit to the industry, further initiatives will be developed around luxury brand marketing and partnering opportunities and accessing export marketing opportunities via/for tourism in food and drink to the very markets that EWP members (and our members) are interested in. The knock benefits of accessing and developing new tourism and export markets could be huge.
A further meeting is being scheduled for June/July with an emphasis on developing these initiatives and having an input in broader tourism strategies to ensure our vineyards, wineries and great wines are at the heart of local and national tourism initiatives and succeed internationally. Integrating our strategic approaches in this way goes beyond simple mutual benefit, it ensures we at the heart of a national government strategy to boost food and drink tourism, particularly the high quality and high value premium end of the market.
An invitation to visit Chapel Down and other nearby vineyards has been extended for VB officials and new Chairman Steve Ridgeway CBE in the summer.
This is the sort of positive initiative, like the Brexit strategy initiative and CRD meeting, that can be established by the UKVA and EWP working together to benefit the whole industry.