Members of the Tamar Valley Tourism Association share similar objectives: attracting more visitors by raising awareness of the area as a desirable, unspoilt holiday destination; building a sustainable local economy, all whilst preserving the unique beauty and tranquillity of the valley.
“ A sustainable local economy needs sufficient numbers and revenue to remain buoyant, but not so many that the lanes become blocked with traffic. It's a delicate balance” says John Marshall, Chairman of the Tamar Valley Tourism Association ( www.tavata.co.uk)
TAVATA was set up in 2001 with those guiding objectives, and is run by a dynamic group of volunteers as a not-for-profit organisation, with just one salaried administrator. It works with local organisations including Visit Cornwall, the National Trust and The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership plus other voluntary groups such as SE Cornwall Tourism Association, Best of Bodmin Moor, Rame Traders and the Gateway to Cornwall Partnership.
Members are many and varied, including Accommodation providers, Butchers, Craft Markets, Donkey Sanctuary, Eating Places, Farmers Markets, Gardens to Visit…… The list is growing.
TAVATA's new website www.welovethetamarvalley.co.uk is a useful resource for visitors and locals alike, listing things to do and see, and places to eat and visit.
Enthusiastic ambassadors and long term members Peter and Caroline Hammond (www.updown-cottage.co.uk) say “The TAVATA membership fee of £50 is the best value a year that we ever spend. The help and support from other businesses and the opportunity to showcase our business on the TAVATA website is invaluable. The events, talks, workshops and visits are really interesting. We network with other members, compare notes, share stories and business advice. It's a brilliant package and incredibly good value. We often talk to prospective new members about the benefits and they nearly all join up.”
The regular heavily subsidised events often serve to familiarise members with newly opened attractions or restaurants. There is often a speaker, talking about business related issue, such as grants for business development.
Manda Brookman of COAST gave an inspirational and very well received talk at the AGM about Sustainable Tourism and making businesses more environmentally friendly.
Brenda Crago (www.cadsonmanor.co.uk) said “Networking is a vital plus for us, and we've picked up lots of ideas on how to reduce our carbon footprint. We put cards supplied by COAST in all our bathrooms to encourage guests to reuse towels and we refer them all to www.welovethetamarvalley.co.uk to get ideas of what to do while they are staying with us”.
Catherine and Jim Walker (www.meadowoodbandb.wordpress.com) says “We belong to TAVATA because we enjoy the sense of belonging. Running a small business can be lonely and stressful. It is good to regularly get together with other people who are experiencing similar challenges. Over the years we have been able to share our thoughts and concerns and hear those from others which has encouraged, informed and warned us of events, legislation or personal issues. Some while back, a TAVATA member suggested we cut food miles by serving apple juice instead of orange juice in our B&B. This idea made sense, as we grow and press our own apples and supports our other initiatives to be environmentally aware such as solar panels, wood burner and composting”.
To find out more about joining the organisation, visit www.welovethetamarvalley.co.uk and go to the Become a Member page.