Food communities across the country encouraged to apply for new, dedicated, grant to champion regional food and drink.
The new grant, which has been set up by Defra’s Great British Food Unit, will allow local partnerships – which could include community groups, trade bodies and National Parks – to group together and bid for up to £25,000 each. The money will then be used to champion regional food and drink, growing local businesses and potentially creating more jobs.
According to Visit Britain, food is a major factor in deciding where to visit for a third of all visitors. New research published today also shows the importance of food and drink in attracting tourists to rural areas with £5.7 billion spent by visitors to rural areas in 2013. Yorkshire is a top destination for foodie tourists from around the world - recent figures revealed that tourism in Yorkshire contributed £3.2bn of the overall £59bn that the tourism sector generated last year.
The new fund will help communities strengthen their food and drink identity and significantly boost tourism. The ‘Rural Tourism and Local Food and Drink’ report also reveals how an attractive food and drink offer can extend the tourist season, further boosting local economies and embedding food at the heart of the British tourism experience.
Speaking at the Great Yorkshire Show, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:
"Food is at the heart of our culture and we want it to be at the heart of our tourism trade too. Across the nation we have seen how great food can transform a region – imagine Cornwall without the celebrated pasty, or Whitby without its iconic fish and chips. It creates wealth, jobs and opportunity for countless rural areas.
"Our Great British Food campaign is all about championing British produce, at home and abroad, and this new funding means an extra boost for exciting and diverse regional cuisine all around the country.
"From forced rhubarb to Wensleydale cheese, perfect pub lunches to Michelin star dining, Yorkshire is home to some of our finest food and drink. I want to see local partnerships take advantage of this new grant to take Yorkshire’s status as a dining destination to the next level."
Yorkshire is one of the country’s top tourist destinations and already has a strong food identity, with projects such as the Tour de Yorkshire Cuisine – a map of the top food hotspots along the Tour de Yorkshire cycle route – highlighting the benefits of partnership working and food innovation.
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said:
"Yorkshire has some of the best food and drink producers in the world; from Michelin starred restaurants, to award winning breweries and artisan food producers.
"I would encourage Yorkshire’s growers, suppliers and producers to bid, through Welcome to Yorkshire, for this funding to continue to grow and showcase the region’s fantastic culinary offering to the world and shout about our Yorkshire food identity."
Defra’s new fund is part of the wider Great British Food Campaign, which was launched by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss at the beginning of the year to celebrate our world-class food industry and culture, drive growth and jobs in the sector and establish Britain’s reputation as a great food nation.
Source: Gov.uk (Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.)