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CLA’s bank holiday tips for tourists

Visit the countryside, spend wisely and help the countryside thrive is the message from the CLA this bank holiday.

CLA Director Midlands Caroline Bedell

CLA Director Midlands Caroline Bedell

The CLA, whose members are involved in all sectors of the rural economy, is hoping that this weekend will see a much needed boost rural areas across the midlands – providing visitors think about how they spend their holiday cash.

The call comes shortly after the CLA/Smiths Gore Rural Economy Index showed countryside businesses facing a significant drop in confidence and investment, with confidence in the farming sector down a quarter since the beginning of the year. Now, says the Association, is the ideal time to help reverse the trend.

CLA Director Midlands Caroline Bedell explains: “This weekend rural areas across the midlands will welcome many thousands of people taking both short and long breaks.

“They come for the views, the space and the peace and quiet but sometimes fail to appreciate that our countryside is a managed, working environment that does not look after itself. Given the current economic situation, the tourist spend can make the difference between staying in business or closing down and losing the very attractions that people come to see.

“So if you enjoy the countryside, please put a little back and think about how you spend your money. You can buy food or eat out locally. Filling a flask at home might save you a pound, but a pound spent locally has a far great financial benefit. And buying local food doesn’t just help keep a business open, it can also taste better!

“Finally, tell your friends. If you enjoy your holiday please recommend it. Then those pounds will really start to make a huge difference.”

CLA Midlands’ top ten tips for a bank holiday boost to the rural economy:

  1. Leave your flask at home. Enjoy a pot of tea and cake at a local café instead. It is supposed to be holiday!
  2. Research your destination. Many interesting attractions are hidden away down country lanes, unable to advertise widely because of planning restrictions. Yet these hidden gems are often the most rewarding – and depend on your business to survive.
  3. Spread your spend. If you’re staying at a hotel for a week, eat out a few times.
  4. When eating out ask where the food on your plate has come from. Make sure as much as possible is from local producers.
  5. Use a local bank, if you can find one. It will help keep it open for the next time you visit.
  6. Try the local brew. The local pub will probably stock your usual tipple, but ask what they recommend from a local brewer. Local beer, wine cider and juice offer new and interesting tastes.
  7. Stop at the signs. Free range eggs, local jams and honey, flowers. Often seen by the side of the road with an honesty box these are often a young entrepreneur’s start in business.
  8. Try home made. In the countryside the supply chain can be surprisingly small, and the products much fresher – but remember if it doesn’t look homemade, it probably isn’t. Look for the independent retailers.
  9. Buy fuel for your homeward journey locally. It might help keep a rural garage open.
  10. Send post cards not emails. The post office is the life blood of rural areas – a card and a stamp not only benefit a local business they will be more appreciated than an email (that’s if you can get broadband or a mobile signal!


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