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24 absolute


Looking at the Wye walking question


More than 80 delegates from businesses and groups in the region met in Chepstow to discuss ways of putting the Wye Valley more firmly on the tourist map – particularly for walkers.


The Boots and Beds conference brought together people with interests in walking and tourism to discover and invent more effective ways to serve and access the walking market. The event was jointly organised by adventa, Monmouthshire County Council Tourism department and the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Zara Bligh, from adventa, part of Monmouthshire’s Rural Development Plan programme, said the conference featured interesting speakers, lively workshops and 17 exhibitors, including some local food producers. “It provided the opportunity for accommodation provid- ers, events co-ordinators, walking groups, volunteers, representatives from Monmouthshire Countryside Service and other people from Monmouthshire and the Wye Valley to get together to discuss the importance of walking as part of tourism in our area and to co-operate with each other in coming up with ideas,” she added.


Speakers at the Boots and Beds Conference Wye Valley AONB officer Andrew Blake on Walking and Tourism in the Valley, Steve Green of Bowles Green Ltd, York on Walking Product Development Strategy and Les Lumsdon, Professor of Tourism at the University of Central Lancashire Institute of Transport and Tourism and the Outdoors who spoke about Slow Travel and Tourism.


The workshops targeted different sectors with one for accommodation providers and another for those wishing to promote walking and trails through apps and mobile friendly websites. There were also sessions on widening festivals and events to incorporate walking and on integrating and marketing sustainable transport and tourism projects. Two other workshops were aimed at tourism businesses which wanted to attract more walkers.


The event also saw the launch of the book ‘Overlooking the Wye – A Guide to the Heritage of the Wye Valley’, published jointly between the Wye Valley AONB and Neil Parkhouse of Black Dwarf Publications.


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