Food Tourism Action Plan - 'Food and Drink for Wales'
Food Tourism Action Plan - 'Food and Drink for Wales'
This document is printed on 100% recycled paper. 5 Chapter 1 Introduction 7 Chapter 2 Why Do We Need a FoodTourism Action Plan? 13 Chapter 3 Challenges and Objectives 23 Chapter 4 Aims, Objectives and Actions Contents 2 Executive Summary 28 Chapter 5 Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation
This FoodTourism Action Plan takes forward the Welsh Assembly Government’s One Wales progressive agenda for a strong confident and prosperous nation with a rich and diverse culture, and a sustainable environment.
It seeks to fulfil the objectives of Making the Connections by bringing together the Welsh Assembly Government’s Food, Fisheries and Market Development Division, Visit Wales and others to develop and deliver the plan whilst closely linked to the new Food and Drink from Wales Strategy and the tourism strategy Achieving our Potential. The importance of food to the tourism industry has increased significantly within the last ten years. The availability of high quality, local food has become a key driver for many selecting a place to visit and ‘where can we eat well?’ has become a defining question.
Food products and dishes are also an expression of local cultures, and culinary tourism and agricultural tourism are vital elements of a destination’s cultural tourism offer. Food tourism fully integrates both concepts in order to maximise the economic impact of various activities linking food to tourism. Within the context of this action plan, food tourism is defined as: Any activity that promotes high quality, distinctive, local and sustainable food experience linked to a particular place.
The plan brings together the areas of agriculture, food processing, tourism destinations, the food service sector, food festivals and food retail outlets, including farmers’ markets in order to capitalise on the economic benefits of providing visitors with a unique, high quality and distinctive food cultural experience. TheTravel Industry Association in conjunction with GourmetTourism Association and the Culinary Tourism Association reported in March 2007 that over the previous Executive Summary Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales
three years 27 million travellers engaged in culinary or wine related activities whilst travelling throughout the world.
There is, therefore, clearly a demand for gastronomic experiences, and outlets which promote and market high quality Welsh food and drink for consumption or purchase. The actions contained in this plan are designed to meet this demand. This plan has been developed in partnership with representatives of both the tourism, and food and drink production and processing industries. It sets out the challenges and opportunities faced by the sectors, and proposes a number of actions to address these.
The overall aim of the Action Plan is to: Support the competitiveness of Welsh tourism, hospitality, food and drink businesses in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. The Action Plan will help contribute to the achievement of the following key high level outcomes: • Increase visitor numbers to Wales who are likely to return and become advocates for Wales. • Ensure more visitor spend stays in the local economy. • Ensure more visitors to Wales feel that they have experienced a distinctive Welsh experience.
• Increase demand for Welsh food and drink produce.
• Minimise the impact of the tourism and food and drink industries on the environment. The Action Plan will focus on delivering these outcomes through focusing on achieving the following key objectives which together will help ensure that Wales’ food and drink offer will make a positive contribution to Wales’ cultural identity: Improve perceptions of Wales as a destination where high quality and distinctive food is widely available.
Provide an exceptional food experience to visitors based on locally sourced and distinctive food.
The merger of the Welsh Development Agency and the WalesTourism Board into the Welsh Assembly Government on the 1st April 2006 has provided an opportunity for better integrated working and making connections to develop joined up policies and strategies and to improve service delivery. Since the merger, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Food, Fisheries and Market Development Division (FFMDD) and Visit Wales have been working together to develop a strategic framework which, when implemented, will provide visitors and consumers within Wales with a much improved FoodTourism product.
This FoodTourism Action Plan sets out proposals to develop the links between food and tourism and maximise their contribution to the Welsh economy. It identifies the future priorities for developing Wales’ food offer for visitors and sets out how the Welsh Assembly Government and its partners will work together to promote Wales as a destination of choice for visitors seeking high quality food and drink. This plan is key to taking forward the Government’s One Wales progressive agenda for a strong, confident and prosperous nation with a rich and diverse culture, and sustainable environment. It focuses on how local food procurement and the development of farmers’ markets can contribute to the growth of FoodTourism in Wales.
It builds on the priorities for developing the Welsh Food and Drink sector and the recommendations contained within the NationalTourism Strategy, Achieving our Potential, in particular those which refer to co-operating across traditional boundaries and compartmentalised thinking to bring together the two industries of agriculture and tourism to deliver the Welsh Assembly Government’s strategic priorities. In respect of the Welsh Food and Drink sector, a new strategy is under development to achieve the overall vision of ‘a market led, customer focused, profitable and sustainable Welsh Food and drink industry, which responds competitively to ever changing market trends’.
The strategy will continue to focus on the following strategic aims which were included in the Agri Food Strategy in Action: • Improving market focus.
• Improving supply chain linkages. • Improving the performance of processors. • Improving the performance of primary producers. In an increasingly competitive tourism market place, destinations are becoming more aware of the need to compete through promoting and developing what makes them distinctive and different from other destinations. Achieving our Potential outlines the importance of developing stronger links between tourism businesses and local suppliers of goods and services – not only to deliver a distinctive, high quality Welsh experience to the visitor but also to help sustain rural communities and their economies and improve the sustainability of the tourism industry.
Other, more specialist tourism strategies such as the Action Plan for the Countryside Experience and the CoastalTourism Strategy have also recognised the critical importance of food and its role in enhancing the Welsh tourism offer.
This action plan will have a role in minimising the environmental impact of tourism. Encouraging the sourcing of local produce, in season, together with ensuring that energy and waste are minimised in the preparation of food will help reduce the environmental impact of food consumption by visitors, along with the reduction in food miles. This will have an impact on the Wales Ecological Footprint by reducing carbon emissions, energy usage and waste which are in line with the Assembly Government’s targets. The sustainable development principles within this document run in parallel to the Local Sourcing Action Plan published April 2009.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Food is an essential part of the tourism offer in Wales, arguably because it provides the most common point of contact with visitors. All visitors have to eat and drink irrespective of their reason for coming to Wales. It probably represents the most frequent moment of truth for our efforts to deliver excellent quality. Places to eat and drink are key factors for visitors particularly when centred on the use of local produce and menus. Visitor trends indicate that interest in food continues to rise at an exponential rate and now reaches beyond the elite deep into the general population.
Visitors and consumers are now seeking a high quality and distinctive food experience when choosing tourist destinations and venues for day trips. The availability of high quality, local food has become a key driver for many selecting a place to visit and ‘where can we eat well?’ has become a defining question. According to research conducted byVisit Wales amongst visitors seeking a countryside holiday, the following top four factors were considered priorities when choosing a destination and significantly more important than other considerations: • Good customer service.
• Good quality food available. • Good choice of specific accommodation required. • Attractive scenery. (The countryside experience. Prepared by A+ Research 2005) Many visitors to rural areas have limited expectations about things to do in the evening and attach considerable importance to food and drink. There is a high expectation amongst visitors to Wales that there will be good food and drink facilities and those ingredients will have been locally produced. Research by the Mid Wales Food and LandTrust on 2006 concluded that of the visitors surveyed, 82% stated that provision of good locally produced food was a very important part of their holiday experience and they would pay up to 13% extra to experience it.
For day visitors, eating out was the most popular main day visit activity identified by the Great Britain DayVisits Survey which was last undertaken in 2002–2003 although popularity varied with destination type. Again, the statistics demonstrate the importance of quality, local food: • 18% of day trippers within GB rate eating and drinking out as the most popular main activity. • The quality of the food offering is rated as the third most important motivator in choosing a holiday destination.
• Eating out in Wales is a frequent occurrence with 18% eating out in a restaurant, hotel or gastro pub more than once a week.
• Almost a third of adults prefer to eat in local restaurants rather than chains. Chapter 2 Why Do We Need a FoodTourism Action Plan? Why is the food offer important for tourism?
Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Over recent years whilst there has been a marked improvement in the food offer, there is still a perception amongst potential visitors to Wales that it lacks good restaurants and places to eat. • Key perceptual barriers to visiting Wales are rain, basic food/hotels and unfriendliness. (VW research Independent Explorers 2005) • Relatively low associations of Wales with good quality pubs, places to eat and restaurants.
(VW Advertising tracking research 2007) Furthermore the perception that Wales lacks good hotels/restaurants is a strong deterrent to many from visiting Wales.
This view is supported by the lastVisitor Survey undertaken in 2006 which illustrated that visitors feel there has been little improvement in the range and quality of eating out establishments over recent years. The mean score out of a maximum of 5 was 3.9 in comparison with 3.7 for 2003 and 3.9 for 2001. These results imply that the hospitality sector in Wales has not developed in line with market. The next visitor survey is currently being undertaken and the results made available later in 2009. Food products and dishes are also an expression of local cultures, and the food offer is a vital element of a destination’s cultural tourism offer.
With the tourism industry becoming increasingly more competitive, cultural distinctiveness is seen as critical for a destination to standout. Indigenous culture, sense of place and the way of life of local people are at the heart of achieving distinctiveness in any destination and food plays an integral part in this.
We also know that the sort of people who appreciate what Wales has to offer as a holiday destination want to escape their busy lives and recharge their emotional batteries in somewhere that is different, appealing and culturally authentic. They will be interested in experiencing food and dishes that are characteristic and authentic to the region they are visiting. Those visiting or living in Wales attribute certain locations, historically and geographically to unique fare, for example Penclawdd in North Gower is famous for its cockles, the west coast of Wales is known for its mackerel and seafood and Pembrokeshire for its early potatoes.
Currently visitors on short breaks in Wales spend 18.7% of their holiday spend on food and drink whilst visitors on longer holidays spend 17.8%. How well is Wales doing now?
Why food plays an important part in promoting Wales as a destination? Why is the visitor market important for Wales’ food industry?
(Visit Wales Expenditure Survey 2005) Consumers are expressing a growing need for individuality in respect of the food offering. There seems to be backlash against commercialised or mass-produced products. Tourists and local consumers appear to be rekindling a fondness for outlets which are both individual and exclusive. However, consumers are only prepared to pay more for local food, if the quality and taste is superior to alternatives, and that the cost reflects value.
• 81% of visitors to Wales want to find local foods on the menu or in retail outlets. (Food Service Research May / June 2005 – Beaufort Research 2005) • Visitors and local consumers are willing to pay an additional price premium of up to around 13% for Welsh or local food.
(Food Service Research May / June 2005 – Beaufort Research 2005) • 44% of the UK public would like to see an organic option on the menu when eating out. (Soil Association organic food and farming report 2004) • 42% of those who eat out want to try new dishes. (Eating out review UK July 05 – Mintel) • Around 71% of Welsh consumers consider it important for a restaurant to highlight what food has been sourced locally on menus. (Beaufort Research True Taste Brand Tracking August 2005) • Almost 50% of consumers in Wales would like restaurants to present menus based on local produce.
(Beaufort Research True Taste Brand Tracking August 2005) Purpose of visit 17.2% 2.8% 9.1% 2.3% 1.3% 1.0% 3.0% 9.7% 3.9% 2.2% 0.4% 0.5% 0.4% 1.6% Food and drink Day trips Holidays 1–3 nights Business 11.5% 2.6% 2.1% 0.4% 0.3% 0.5% 0.2% Holidays 4+ nights 7.1% 3.2% 3.8% 0.4% 0.7% 0.6% 2.0% Restaurants Bars Cafés Fast food Other takeaways Sandwich bars/bakeries Other fast food
10 Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales
11 There is clearly a demand from consumers for local foods in restaurants, with an emphasis on fresh products such as fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry, and to have this information on menus. This is probably fuelled by the perception that local foods offer the consumer reassurance on safety, quality and freshness and an expectation of a better dining experience. This trend in pursuit of local foods and dishes provides an opportunity for hospitality outlets to differentiate themselves from competitors by providing and highlighting local food on the menu and ensuring that it matches or exceeds expectations.
Increasing demand for organic produce also presents new opportunities for restaurants and other hospitality establishments. This includes the food service sector as the £26.8 billion UK catering market offers a huge opportunity for organic producers and processors. The demand for local food and drink is also influencing the purchasing habits of consumers. The trend towards wanting to purchase local food and drink is driven by a number of factors, including taste, a desire for freshness, a wish to support local producers, concern about food miles and the environment, wanting to know the source of the food and keenness to contribute to the development of local economies.
Increasing public interest in the origin and source of food provides further opportunities to link agriculture and food tourism for the benefit of both sectors. • Around one in four current buyers of Welsh produce use specialist outlets, such as butchers, farmers markets and farm shops.
(Farma Cymru 2007 – Research on direct sales form the producer with a focus on Welsh Farmers and Producer Markets) • There are 46 Farmers Markets in Wales. (Farma Cymru 2007 – Research on direct sales form the producer with a focus on Welsh Farmers and Producer Markets) •17% of households shop from farmers markets, around 12% from farm shops and 5% from PickYour Own farms. (FARMA’s Hungry for more – Farmers Market Conference June 2006) • 72% of Welsh organic consumers are willing to pay more for local produce. (Soil Association – Organic Food and Farming Report 2003) The growth in demand for organic products also presents business opportunities for the agri-food industry as Welsh organic shoppers are keen to support local farmers and are predisposed to pay more for the products.
That said, however, the food offer, be it organic or not, must always be perceived as good value, and this is especially the case in times of recession when disposable incomes are shrinking.
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13 This section sets the objectives that will help us achieve our high level outcomes. These are to: • Improve the perceptions of Wales as a destination where high quality and distinctive food is widely available. • Provide an exceptional food experience to visitors based on locally sourced and distinctive food. As discussed in section 3, there are indications that potential visitors to Wales still perceive there to be a lack of good restaurants and places to eat.
In order to improve these perceptions focus should be placed on: • Improving the branding and marketing of Welsh food and drink. • Making information about food and food outlets more widely available to visitors.
• Raising awareness of Wales’ food and drink through high profile events and attractions. The link between the quality of the produce and the quality of the food served on the table is now firmly established in the public mind. In Wales, this translates into the expectancy amongst many visitors that a quality food offering will include a significant amount of Welsh produce. This message should therefore be reinforced inVisit Wales’ marketing activities both through a common brand that recognises quality and through capitalising on opportunities for marketing Welsh produce in Wales’ tourism destination marketing campaigns.
The brand for Welsh food, theTrueTaste (natural, authentic, modern and pleasurable experience) is in line with contemporary trends in the market place. However, as it has been developed separately from the WalesTourism brand, there is work to do to bring the brand messages closer together. The use of theTrueTaste brand is subject to quality of taste. Companies are allowed to feature the branding on their products following a robust judging process which culminates in a high profileTrueTaste Food and Drink awards celebration. The ceremony highlights the best food products in Wales together with good quality dining places and retail outlets.
A new category was introduced at the 2008TrueTaste Food and Drinks Awards FoodTourism Destination – this award recognises the contribution to promoting Wales as a food tourism destination. Tourists and day visitors are interested in obtaining information about locally produced foods and eating establishments where locally produced food is available before and during a visit. If visitors can be directed to the best food on offer in Wales, they are far more likely to return home impressed and pass the message on to others. It is also possible that they will continue to source Welsh food and drink if it is easily accessible to them.
Chapter 3 Challenges and Objectives 1. Improve the perceptions of Wales as a destination where high quality and distinctive food is widely available Improve the marketing and branding of the food offer Making information about Wales’ food and food outlets more widely available to visitors
14 Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Well established commercial ventures such as the Michelin guides,AA rosettes, Good Food guide, already provide visitors with information that is well respected. It is important to remember that these guides appeal to those who are already food aware and who will actively seek out establishments that are featured by the guide.
It is reasonable to suggest, on the other hand, that the vast majority of visitors experiencing food in Wales will do so at establishments which do not feature in the guides.
Most visitors would pick up information about restaurants/food and drink once at the destination (e.g. at accommodation), but if doubtful about the availability of good quality food and drink within an area many will check a website for reassurance. It is therefore important to ensure that information about an area’s food offering and eating out establishments is readily available to visitors online. However, this information must be matched with the likely experience any visitor is likely to receive. The Assembly Government’s Food, Fisheries and Market Development Division promotes Welsh food and drink at several UK consumer events.
These events provide opportunities to promote Wales’ food tourism offer to consumers. Furthermore, there are opportunities to promote Wales as a tourist destination at the international food and drink trade events organised by International Business Wales. Joint promotion at these events would help in raising further awareness of Wales as a destination for high quality food and drink.
There is room for a more limited number of high profile food festivals, such as the Abergavenny Food Festival. Such festivals have the potential to attract visitors from much further afield and play a useful role in raising the profile of Wales as a quality food destination. The CoastalTourism strategy also highlights the potential of developing a high profile seafood festival that could be held at different locations each year building on existing seafood festivals such as Pembrokeshire Fish Week, Cardigan Bay, Anglesey and Llŷn Seafood Festivals.
The CulturalTourism action plan also highlights the opportunities to build on the FoodTourism offering at major cultural tourism events and festivals, e.g.
Hay on Wye and National Eisteddfod to provide aTrueTaste pavilion that can be delivered along with the engagement of key partners such asVisit Wales, National Parks and Welsh Rarebits. If we are to achieve the vision of Wales as destination of choice for visitors seeking high quality and distinctive food and drink, significant work remains to be done in developing FoodTourism, in respect of tourist facilities, hospitality establishments and retail outlets. We suggest that the action plan should focus on the following: • Improve the capacity of existing food and tourism businesses to provide quality, locally produced food that is distinctive to their area.
• Develop food supply chains.
• Improve catering skills and training. • Provide more opportunities for visitors to experience and buy local produce. • Develop bilingual menus. Raising awareness through high profile food events and attractions 2. Provide an exceptional food experience to visitors, based on locally sourced and distinctive food
In order for Wales to make its mark on the food tourism map, it is important to ensure that all food outlets (from the smallest tea room to large/up market restaurants) are engaged in providing a quality food experience. We need to ensure that businesses offer good quality local food experiences where local produce is used in flavoursome dishes, at reasonable cost, that will deliver the Wales brand promise for authentic local experiences.
While very few would doubt the marketing appeal of fresh, local produce, the reality is that a significant number of food outlets in Wales will focus firstly on providing good quality food at a profit, while striving to deliver first class service. Many of those who enter food businesses that serve the tourism market have little prior knowledge of this type of operation. Research has indicated that there is perception that there is no particular bespoke advisory services for FoodTourism operators such as cafés, pubs, hotels, and restaurants. There is some evidence, however, that food and tourism businesses in some parts of Wales are taking up the available support.
For example, in Mid Wales over a 20 month period 108 hotels, restaurants, bars and coffee shops took advantage of General Service for Business (GSB).
AlthoughVisit Wales Quality Advisers have day to day contact with hotels and guest houses which provide food and drink to tourists, they are not currently charged with the task of advising on the food offer to any significant extent. Their role is to experience and pass comment on the food offer and their assessments will have a bearing on the eventual star rating achieved by the accommodation. The Advisers are particularly well placed to extend their role to provide an enhanced level of advice on food not only in accommodation, but also across a wider range of food outlets, provided that they are given additional training.
However, before this could happen, there needs to be a mechanism for engaging with the wider range of food establishments. Visit Wales already engages with approximately 2000 hotels and guest houses through its accreditation scheme. This engagement is sustainable due to the fact that the businesses have a route to market through the services offered byVisit Wales and local authorities. Research undertaken on behalf of Visit Wales in 2007 has demonstrated that being inspected on a regular basis has helped generate significant investment in quality improvements. The star grading scheme, therefore, provides the glue which binds the accommodation industry together for the purposes of measuring quality achievement and development.
Inspection and recognition of non accommodation food outlets could similarly assist in raising quality and such engagement with the industry should also provide the basis for influencing businesses to make more use of local produce. As indicated above, the industry will need an incentive to engage with government, and the development of effective routes to markets for accredited food outlets is one means of achieving that. Financial support in the form of grant aid can make a valuable contribution to the development of the sector, but in order to maximise the effectiveness of the available resources, there is a need to ensure that assistance is targeted towards projects that fully accord with Wales’ brand values and the priorities of the Welsh Assembly Government.
A new visitor customer service scheme was launched by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2008 as part of the Croeso Programme. The new scheme Improve the capacity of existing food and tourism businesses to provide quality locally produced food that is distinctive to their area 15
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17 places more emphasis on developing pride in the local area.This is a factor which complements the objectives of the various strategies of the relevant Assembly Government Departments including those concerned with promoting local produce, and developing a ‘Sense of Place’, to extol the benefits of differentiation in the market place.
The Croeso Programme will potentially provide a means of identifying those products and businesses which share Wales’ brand values. The Croeso Programme initiative will involve working at the local level to encourage businesses and the host community to recognise the significance of differentiating their specific tourism offer through the use of Welsh food, music, building materials, display of Welsh craft and other pieces of art.
Other measures could include interpretation of Welsh language, legends and folklore in an appealing way for visitors. The programme will comprise of a suite of three separate modules which business can complete independently. Successfully completing all three modules will allow businesses to display the Croeso – A Warm Welsh Welcome brand in their marketing activity or at their premises. From time to time businesses will have access to group seminars designed to provide practical advice about creating a Sense of Place.
Wales is also repositioning itself as a short-break activity tourism destination.
A series of ActivityTourism Strategies have been developed to guide the marketing and development of key ActivityTourism products including activities such as cycling, adventure sports, mountain biking, watersports and sailing. Visitors who come to Wales primarily to undertake an activity will have specific needs in relation to food e.g. healthier food, packed lunches, transportable food. In addition, developing the food offer at activity centres is a useful means of supporting the local food initiative and increasing visitor spend in the local economy.
In addition as a result of Wales hosting the Ryder Cup,Visit Wales is seeking to maximise opportunities to develop the Golf Tourism product in Wales. As the number of golf visitors to Wales increases golf clubs are being encouraged to raise catering standards to meet the high expectations of golf visitors. Whilst the commercial clubs are keen to offer high standards of catering in order to have commercial benefits members clubs are faced with different challenges as they try to please their members and visitors. It is therefore the latter (membership clubs) where there is the greatest need to educate and assist both caterers and committees on how to improve standards of catering and demonstrate the benefits of offering a quality Welsh menu.
Activities to develop this area include the production of a food guide for golf club caterers to support the food section in the golf tourism toolkit Driving Change.This will be followed with a series of food workshops specifically for golf club caterers.
Many of the high quality suppliers of Welsh produce are small in size and their potential customers at the higher quality end of the hospitality trade are thinly spread geographically. As illustrated in the table on page 18, more activities are needed to increase the uptake of Welsh food and drink and to encourage the development of bilingual menus, meals and recipes that use quality, local products. Some work has been undertaken to improve supply chain linkages, which has led to greater awareness of the advantages and opportunities offered by using quality,Welsh produce in hospitality establishments.
Develop food supply chains
18 Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales (Food Service Research May/June 2005 – Beaufort Research 2005) Experience has shown that effective communication between customers, suppliers and prospective purchasers, such as hospitality providers, leads to sufficient goodwill to overcome challenges through a better understanding of customer needs. Such communication can also lead to further product development, accessing of new markets and collaboration on issues such as distribution and improved servicing of clients.
Exciting examples of initiatives to bring together the various elements of the industry to improve communication can be seen across Wales, with the Local FoodTalks programme in Mid Wales gaining momentum and achieving results. The programme offers a series of workshops to promote the use of Welsh food within the hospitality sector and seeks to enhance the relationship between the tourism sector and the producer. The programme is being rolled out in the South West area and there is scope to consider whether best practice models such as these could be rolled out in other parts of Wales.
Is Welsh/local food widely enough available from suppliers? Cafés Restaurants Pubs/bars Hotels Contract caterers 53% 55% 63% 79% 62% 36% 38% 29% 16% 13% Suppliers Yes No Don’t know 11% 7% 8% 5% 25%
19 Improving catering and hospitality skill levels Attracting and retaining skilled staff is one of the major barriers to development within food tourism businesses.There are acute staff shortages with a distinct lack of suitable kitchen staff especially the higher grades of chef. Research amongst Welsh hospitality employers undertaken by People 1st in 2007 shows a conservative estimate of 34% rate of staff turnover, which is said to have been at the same level for the last 5 years. The demand for chefs has grown over a 6 year period whilst the number of chefs being produced through the education system has declined by 10% over the same period, and there is evidence that the quality of training provision has declined as the NVQ system has failed to support the provision of high quality practical catering.
There is no doubt that many restaurant operations whether they be fine dining, gastro pubs, bistros or cafés feel that they are unable to achieve the standards to which they aspire because of the difficulties of obtaining front of house staff, kitchen staff and chefs with the appropriate skills and product knowledge, particularly in respect of traceability and provenance. In the food sector, the skills required by front of house staff are further complicated given that the technical skills of dealing with customers (serving food, taking orders) must be delivered by people who have top quality interpersonal skills.
This situation is not new and is a constant source of concern for the hospitality industry generally.
However, two new developments are set to address these problems: • A new three level Hospitality and Catering Diploma for 14–19 year olds is being developed for the UK which will be piloted from September 2009.There are plans to adopt and adapt the programme for inclusion in the Welsh Baccalaureate. The practical content of the qualification increases from 60% at Level 1 to 80% at Level 3, and work experience is a key feature. • The Applied Ability Awards, practical exams for professional chefs, designed and delivered by chefs are being piloted in Wales from March 2008 at Foundation Chef and Chef levels.
The focus is development of the full range of cooking skills in the workplace supported by Chef Mentors assessed by no-option practical exam testing. These Awards may stand-alone or equally complement universal qualifications achieved by continuous assessment through recorded observation. Increasing public interest in the origin and source of food provides further opportunities to link agriculture and food tourism for the benefits of both sectors. There are examples of where the relationship between the producer and the consumer/visitor has been developed through food trails and other similar activities.
The GastronomicTourism Europe – Mintel Report 2004, highlights how tourist boards across Europe have developed the food offering in wine and food trails which highlight particular gastronomic specialities whilst also taking in key historical and cultural sights. In Wales, Adventa’s picnic tours in Monmouthshire link local producers with places of interest and beauty and wider tourism activities.These tours and trails are effective in developing linkages between food producers and tourism and can add value to cycle, walking and holiday routes as the food and drink consumed takes on additional significance by allowing the visitor to experience a true sense of place.
Farmers’ markets, food festivals, farm shops and specialist outlets also provide opportunities for visitors to buy local produce and can act as attractions in their own right. The FFMDD department figures show that 10% of people who shop at farmers’ markets are visiting from outside Wales and this is during the off peak Provide more opportunities for visitors to experience and buy local produce
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21 season. Research has shown that the main reason why consumers choose to use local shops, such as butchers and farmers’ markets, is the product range and quality of customer service. Widening product availability and improving customer service at farmers’ markets, food festivals, farm shops and specialist outlets all provide opportunities to increase the attraction of Wales as a food tourism destination for the visitor and the in Wales day tripper.
It also supports the rural economies and the diversity of rural culture, in particular through an emphasis on local products that keep food miles to a minimum and benefits to the rural communities, by creating and safeguarding jobs within the hospitality sectors.
There is also a need to determine gaps in provision on a spatial and sectorial basis. Both the Assembly Government’s Food, Fisheries and Market Development Division and the Department of Economy andTransport have grant schemes available that can support the development of new tourism outlets via the single Investment Fund subject to eligibility criteria, and co-ordination of marketing support from the Rural Development Plan Axis 2 & 3. It is therefore important that they work together to use the resources effectively and target agreed spatial and sectorial developments. An international movement which is gaining momentum within Wales is ‘Slow Food’, which originated in Italy in 1986.
It promotes the consumption of locally produced food products and regional cooking. Through a variety of initiatives it raises awareness of gastronomic culture, taste education, conserves agricultural biodiversity and protects traditional foods. It is represented in over a 100 countries, with the Dyfi Valley group within Mid Wales being particularly active in this movement and further groups in Mold and the Cardiff area emerging.
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23 Chapter 4 Aims, Objectives and Actions As a result of the Welsh Assembly Government’s One Wales progressive agenda, for a strong confident and prosperous nation with a rich and diverse culture, the FoodTourism Action Plan unites a number of policy departments within the Assembly Government. Led by the FFMDD with strategic support fromVisit Wales, other policy departments will also have roles to play in delivering the Action Plan. Partnerships will be forged with other bodies in order to harness resources for best effect with the objective of maximising the economic impact of various activities linking food to tourism.
In order to ensure that the deliverables within the Action Plan are properly co-ordinated, it will be timely to examine existing structures within the FFMDD’s networks for industry liaison.The objective will be to examine how producers, distributors and the hospitality industry can be brought together to help guide the strategic direction of both food production, distribution and its preparation (to end user). People and craft skills will necessarily form an important element in the delivery of the Action Plan and it will be important to ensure that policy guidance is available to whatever framework is established for implementation of the Action Plan.
24 Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales The following table set out the actions to be taken to deliver this plan’s strategic aims and objectives of the plan. Objective 1To improve the perceptions of Wales as a destination where high quality and distinctive food is widely available Improving the branding and marketing of the Welsh food and drink offer. Develop and Implement a Food Tourism Strand inVisit Wales’ Marketing Campaigns. Review of theTrueTaste Brand. FFMDD andVisit Wales jointly. FFMDD in consultation with Visit Wales.
Making information about food and food outlets more widely available to visitors.
Provide opportunities for businesses serving food (both retail and hospitality) to reach the visitor market, and provide a mechanism for identifying where produce is locally sourced. Review and develop food tourism content of Visit Wales and FFMDD TrueTaste website. Support the promotion and marketing of local producers and hospitality establishments. Regional Tourism Partnerships with support from tourism marketing area organisations.
FFMDD andVisit Wales jointly. RegionalTourism Partnerships with support from tourism marketing area organisations. Objectives Action Lead/support organisations Raising awareness of Wales’ food and drink through high profile events and attractions. Include food and tourism references in International Business Wales promotional material. Provide International Business Wales with information on quality local eating establishments and food tourism attractions/events. Support the development of food festivals. Build the Welsh food offering into major events and festivals. Joint presence at relevant tourism and food exhibitions and events.
IBW with support from FFMDD andVisit Wales. FFMDD withVisit Wales. FFMDD.
FFMDD. FFMDD andVisit Wales jointly.
25 Objective 2 To improve an exceptional food experience to visitors based on locally sourced and distinctive food Improve the capacity of existing food and tourism businesses to provide quality, locally produced food that is distinctive to their area, but in a way which provides for a sustainable, affordable and deliverable future. Investigate work on verifying the use of locally produced food and drink and local specialities. Provide hospitality establishments with information on the availability of local food.
Investigate the introduction of a food verification scheme.
Champion the importance of locally produced food in the delivery of theVisit Wales Sense of Place initiative. Provide advice on developing menus and using the availability of local food for promotional purposes. Promote the benefits of using local food to hospitality establishment. Investigate and share best practice in other areas of UK and wider Europe. Visit Wales with support from FFMDD and RegionalTourism Partnerships. FFMDD with support from Visit Wales and Regional Tourism Partnerships. Visit Wales with assistance from RegionalTourism Partnerships and relevant trade associations and enterprise agencies.
Visit Wales with support from Regional Tourism Partnerships and local enterprise and training agencies.
Visit Wales with support from TTfW. Regional Tourism Partnerships and local enterprise and training agencies with support from Visit Wales through its Croeso programme. FFMDD withVisit Wales in association with Regional Tourism Partnerships. Objectives Action Lead/support organisations
26 Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales .. Objectives Action Lead/support organisations Develop food supply chains. Update and disseminate widely the Wales Food and Drink Producer Directory and examine the most appropriate media for its distribution.
Establish food tourism discussion/ action learning groups on a regional/local level. Establish and encourage better connections between producers, supplier and the hospitality sector. FFMDD. RegionalTourism Partnerships with support from FFMDD andVisit Wales.
FFMDD with support from RegionalTourism Partnerships andVisit Wales. Improve catering and hospitality skill levels. Investigate the development of a programme of ongoing workshops and training for both kitchen and front of house staff in hospitality establishments. Improve the capability ofVisit Wales quality development team to provide advice to a wide range of food providers (cafes, restaurants etc.) Review existing research regarding skills need for the industry and undertake additional research as appropriate to fill any gaps in knowledge.Additional research to include review of where existing skills programmes have been effective.
Visit Wales in association with RegionalTourism Partnerships andTTfW.
Visit Wales. Visit Wales.
Improve catering and hospitality skill levels. Review existing research regarding training requirements for immigrant workers employed in hospitality and catering industries and undertake additional research as appropriate to fill any gaps in knowledge. Investigate with DCELLS how school curricula might be used to develop children’s understanding of the food supply chain and the interaction between farm, supplier and the hospitality industry. Investigate with DCELLS how school curricula might include elements of learning designed to showcase the significance of the hospitality (food) industry to the Welsh economy.
Visit Wales withTTfW. FFMDD and Visit Wales with support fromTTfW.
Visit Wales with support from TTfW. Objectives Action Lead/support organisations Introduce a generic support programme for the development of farmers’ markets and other direct sales outlets. Provide more opportunities for visitors to experience and buy local produce. FFMDD. 27
28 Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales Food Tourism Action Plan Food and Drink for Wales The preceding chapter sets out the actions to be taken forward under this plan in order to implement the strategic aim of: Supporting the competitiveness of Welsh tourism, hospitality, food and drink businesses in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
To achieve this aim and progress with the objectives and associated actions, a commitment will have to be made to engage fully with all stakeholders across the sector. Existing methods of partnership working and liaison with industry stakeholders will be examined with a view to ensuring that food producers, distributors, and the hospitality industry have appropriate fora for engaging with the Welsh Assembly Government in order to guide and review the implementation of the Action Plan.
We will evaluate progress against the action plan through setting baseline data against the following objectives: • Improve perceptions of Wales as a destination where high quality and distinctive food is widely available. • Provide an exceptional food experience to visitors based on locally sourced and distinctive food. Sources such as theVisit WalesVisitor Survey, theVisit Wales AdvertisingTracking Survey and FFMDD’s tracking research. Chapter 5 Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation
Food Tourism Action Plan ‘Food and Drink for Wales’ Welsh Assembly Government 2009 This book was published by the Welsh Assembly Government Food Tourism Action Plan ‘Food and Drink for Wales’ Version 1 0409