The travel trade buyers sell tours to the international market - Europe, North America, India, South America and Australia – and were hosted by Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils on behalf of Visit Somerset.
The two council’s joint tourism team has been working hard to promote the areas’ attractions and accommodation as part of the wider South West Tourism Growth Fund, a £5 million contribution from the Government.
After a night in Taunton, the delegation toured the town centre and visited the award-winning Museum of Somerset where a national treasure, the Becket Casket, is currently on display.
The magnificent gardens at Hestercombe were next on the itinerary where the group was welcomed by Borough Council Leader John Williams. The Gardens are of international importance and recently featured on national TV in Monty Don’s series on garden history and the group were really impressed by the quality and variety of gardens that have been created through the centuries.
Medieval Dunster in West Somerset was the next stop where West Somerset Cllr Karen Mills, who holds the tourism brief, joined the group and said it had been vitally important to learn and understand what the buyers want from an area for their clients.
Final stop of the day was at Sheppy’s Cider in Bradford-on-Tone, home to one of the country’s top cider-makers with its own museum, farm shop and restaurant.
The two council’s joint tourism team has been working hard to promote the areas’ attractions as part of a wider South West Tourism initiative, funded by the Government.
The aim is to ensure businesses are ready to welcome international visitors, increase job opportunities, and market the South West as a whole.
Cllr Williams said: “Both Taunton Deane and West Somerset have so much to offer so it was a wonderful opportunity to give the buyers a taste of the many attractions.
“It was also a chance for us to learn from them and to get the inside track on the holiday market which is a substantial part of our local economy in its own right.”
Cllr Mills said: “By working together we are making the most of the funding that is available to market not just our own, individual areas but the region. We look forward to welcoming visitors from across the world.”
Released jointly on behalf of Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council
Attached photo of the buyers with Cllr Mills (WSC) in Dunster. Cllr Mills is in the centre (blue scarf)
Debbie Rundle, Public & Media Relations Officer 01823 356407