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New Tourism Network will help East Devon businesses flourish

A new initiative is being launched, which aims to enable tourism businesses get closer to net zero, improve their accessibility, raise the quality of their product and service, and work collaboratively with other tourism businesses and partners in order to unlock opportunities and potential to grow sustainably.

The East Devon Tourism Network (EDTN) forms part of the East Devon Tourism Strategy that aims for the district to become the leading, year-round tourism destination in Devon and will raise the overall quality of the tourism offer in the area. The Network will create opportunities for businesses to share best practices, encourage partnership working and sustainable growth.

The network will be open to any East Devon tourism business that shares the network ambitions and values. It will create meaningful collaboration and bring industry representatives together to share ideas, find out about new opportunities and learn from practices that have already been implemented by other businesses and work well.

The network will not have direct role in promoting the area and its businesses as there are already a number of well-established destination management organisations that fulfil that role. Any synergies with existing tourism organisations will be explored and ways to enhance and amplify what already works well and delivers results for the tourism businesses will be very welcomed. By supporting the business community improve its offer, it will eventually drive more return visitors and attract new ones with the strength and the quality of our tourism offer.

Following a competitive bid, East Devon Excellence have been appointed to establish and run the network, which is supported by East Devon District Council and funded by The UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund.

There will be four free member network events in the year, which will be informative and inspiring so businesses can apply new ideas to their operations and be brought closer to achieving or improving the values on which the network is build. The events will feature headline speakers and provide an opportunity to engage with leading tourism experts, national, regional and local tourism organisations and tourism businesses. They will be held at different locations around East Devon and cover a mixture of topics aimed at helping businesses improve their operations and tourism offer, such as net zero, accessibility, and customer service.

Membership is free to businesses who fulfil the following criteria:

  • The majority of the business is within/ relevant to the tourism sector
  • The business specifically promotes to and attracts visitors to East Devon
  • They provide a visitor experience, whether it is to eat, stay or visit.
  • They are committed to values of promoting quality, working towards net zero, improved accessibility and collaboration and can evidence this commitment.

Members will be required to sign a brief Memorandum of Understanding to show their commitment to the Network.

The network will also host an online What’s On with listing of cultural events and activities that will appeal to and attract tourists. The aim is to highlight things to do for tourists who are exploring East Devon as a potential destination or have already booked their stay in the area, with a focus on driving more cultural tourism. This will be a resource that tourism businesses can use for their own marketing promotions to their customers. The What’s On Guide will be hosted on East Devon Excellence website.

The first network event will take place in March 2023 and businesses interested to join the network and attend the event are encouraged to express their interest via email to:  tourismnetwork@eastdevonexcellence.co.uk

The East Devon Tourism Network is supported by East Devon District Council and delivered by East Devon Excellence. Funded by The UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund.

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