Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Working together for tourism on Exmoor

We were at the Exmoor Tourist Association’s annual general meeting last week, at the Tithe Barn in Dunster. Always good to catch up with others involved in tourism; it’s rare to have an opportunity to network face to face. Many of us accommodation providers seem to have more bookings this year than last so far, which is good news.

Antony Brunt, the ETA chairman, and others of our hard-working officers, do a lot of work in promoting Exmoor (for example by representing the association at the Outdoors Show, BoBI and other travel-related exhibitions). We’re lucky to have an excellent administrator / secretary / membership secretary, Rachel Kelly; and our president, William Theed, is another fine ambassador for the area.

MP Ian Liddell-Grainger was at the meeting to give us a talk before going off to the House of Commons. He’s also very enthusiastic about promoting tourism on Exmoor – though I wasn’t sure about his description ‘like Dartmoor, but with more people’! If we’re to compare the two Moors, then I prefer the definition that has been doing the rounds on twitter: Exmoor is the thinking man’s Dartmoor. Nothing like stirring things up a bit…

Dan James of Exmoor National Park updated us on what’s happening with the park authority and with the Exmoor Tourism Partnership: plenty of positive developments there. I was pleased to note that the National Park has some more new ideas in the pipeline about helping green businesses promote themselves.

A highlight of ETA meetings is always the catering! We had melt-in-the-mouth shortbread biscuits with our coffee before the meeting, and as usual there was a very good, imaginative selection on the lunchtime buffet. (Well, if you’ve been following our blog – indeed if you’ve seen our website – you’ll know that we’re constantly thinking about food, one way or the other).

After lunch Ross Edwards of EDF gave a presentation about the proposed nuclear development, Hinkley Point C. This is something that raises concerns on many levels, and Ross made it clear that, as a PR person, he is not an expert on the safety (or otherwise) aspect of the project. However, he gave us some interesting details about how EDF proposes to minimise adverse effects on the surrounding area during the building work. It’s early days yet, and there’s a lot more to be said on all sides; no doubt the consultation will run and run. I’ll make no further comment for the moment, but you can find the relevant documentation here:

If you're involved in tourism on Exmoor and aren't already a member of ETA, I'd urge you to consider joining. There are many benefits, including some good marketing opportunities, and we think the fee is very good value. For more details, visit

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