Thursday, 15 November 2007

Council alliance saves future of Exmoor's main tourism brochure

AN alliance to rescue West Somerset and Exmoor’s main tourism brochure has been forged between West Somerset Council and the Exmoor Tourist Association (ETA).
The ETA and the council have worked closely together to broker a deal with directors of Exmoor Coast and Country Ltd to ensure the vital tourism guide will be produced as normal, after the company sent out a plea for help.
The limited company was registered by businessman John Richards at one of his Watchet addresses, who is a former director of tourism promoter Visit Exmoor, which is now being wound up after internal wrangling.
Now, tourism businesses which want to advertise in the 2008 brochure are being urged to contact co-ordinator Naomi Griffiths as a matter of urgency.
They have only until November 20 to telephone her on 01984 639642 or email her at
Council tourism portfolio holder Councillor Michael Downes said: “The council and the ETA have been in intense negotiations during the last three weeks and we are delighted to announce that we have secured a rescue package for the brochure not only for this year, but until 2010.
“We would like to express our thanks to local businesses and advertisers for bearing with us over the last few weeks.
“The ETA has a proven track record of tourism delivery, and we welcome the experience and knowledge they will bring to future brochures.”
The ETA and the council have drawn up letters of intent to formalise the arrangement which will now go to the council’s cabinet for ratification.
ETA chairman Antony Brunt said: “The owners of Exmoor Coast and Country Ltd have agreed to gift their shares to the ETA.
“We would like to thank all the affected businesses for their patience while we have been working on this rescue package.
“We know that we are able to deliver a quality publication for the tourism industry for 2008.
“Timescales are tight and we will have to move fast, but we are very confident about the publication.
“Exmoor Coast and Country plays an incredibly important role in the promotion of Exmoor and West Somerset.
“Many tourism businesses rely heavily on this guide to get visitors to their hotels, guest houses, self-catering accommodation, and attractions, and we are thrilled that we have been able to work with the council to ensure that this guide is not lost.”
Council leader Councillor Keith Ross said: “The council recognises the importance of tourism to local businesses and the economic benefits it brings to the district.
“We immediately diverted resources into this area to avoid a crisis and we are delighted with the outcome.
“The council has, over the last few months, taken stock of its priorities. It is happy to build on constructive, effective partnerships and forge new alliances when the need arises for the greater good of everybody.
“The ETA and the council have worked hard to secure the provision of the tourism brochure, and we are delighted that our hard work has paid off.
“We are really pleased to be working with the ETA which is a proven, long-standing and well-respected organisation among local tourism providers.”
The council has supported production of the Exmoor Coast and Country Guide has by the tourism industry for more than 10 years.

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