Are you a local food producer or restaurant/cafe owner? Do you own a farm shop or run a village pub? This may be a chance to boost your trade by getting involved in a new initiative aimed at highlighting the food industry for tourists to the region
A new ‘food tourism’ trail is to be created that will celebrate local food businesses and encourage visitors to explore undiscovered parts of east Suffolk.
SCDC and Waveney have secured a £22,000 grant from Defra for ‘Championing Food Tourism’ and will use it to develop The ‘East Suffolk Food and Drink Trail’ , highlighting key food-related destinations with the aim of encouraging more visitors to the local area – especially those places that are off the well beaten track.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “From independent butchers, bakers and farm shops to neighbourhood pubs, cafés and fine dining restaurants, east Suffolk already attracts thousands of visitors each year.
“I want food to be at the heart of our tourism trade which is why projects like the East Suffolk Food and Drink Trail are so important in encouraging people to explore new areas, while also bringing a welcome boost to the local economy.”
Cllr Michael Ladd, Waveney’s cabinet member for Tourism, Economic Development and Rural Affairs said: “We are extremely fortunate to have a wealth of independent food and drink producers in east Suffolk and we know that food tourism is a major draw to visitors. We are confident that the trails will encourage visitors to explore different parts of east Suffolk as well as showcasing these businesses to local people, highlighting the excellent produce available on our doorsteps.”
Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for Resources and Tourism said: “We have a diverse range of shops, producers, cafés and restaurants along the coast and in our thriving market towns. Promoting artisan food producers and unique places to eat will attract visitors to east Suffolk throughout the year.”
A series of interactive food trails will be available online, allowing visitors to explore the area and plan their visit before they arrive. As well as raising the profile of local food outlets and producers, the online trails will also link with other tourism trails, festivals and markets.
The grant forms part of a wider Defra campaign to celebrate the UK’s world class food industry and culture, drive growth and jobs in the sector, boost exports and establish Britain’s reputation as a great food nation.
Out of the 65 national projects which applied for the funding, the Councils were amongst just 10 successful applicants. Businesses will be able to register for the trails for free and further details about how to sign up will be available early in the new year.