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57


Sarah Stride


during lockdown then packed full of visitors during the summer months. Sarah Stride, General Manager


T


of Visit South Devon, said: “After the initial shock of lockdown we worked hard with local businesses to get them ready for the large volume of visitors last summer. And we’re doing more of the same this year, to make Dartmouth a safe place to visit. “Businesses have adapted and


diversified fantastically, including home deliveries, moving online and hotels getting into glamping. People are doing things differently and really branching out. Some have really struggled, especially the smaller B&Bs, but others in self- catering have seen a huge increase in trade. “Our main aim has been to make businesses safe, so that people can relax and enjoy a holiday that we all deserve at the moment. Obviously, some have been nervous about reopening and welcoming people from different parts of the country but, on the whole, a positive momentum has built up this year.” Laura Campbell, Tourism


Consultant and Lead for Discover Dartmouth, added: “People have


It’s been a tumultuous year all round, not least for the local tourist industry. Kate Cotton spoke to Sarah Stride, of Visit South Devon, and Laura Campbell, of Discover Dartmouth, about the impact of Covid on the town, and hopes and plans going forward.


Tumultuous Times for Tourism


Laura Campbell


he streets of Dartmouth haven’t been the same this last year – deserted


been dipping a toe in the water and thinking ‘yep, I can cope with that’. “There’s a vibe in local businesses


that’s really enthusiastic and positive this year. Some won’t believe it until they see it, but they have the control to do it their way


Obviously, some have been nervous about reopening and welcoming people from different parts of the country but, on the whole, a positive momentum has built up this year.”


and be more comfortable. “Collaboration has been key, and


it’s been fantastic to see businesses collaborating, such as the pop-up café in Royal Avenue Gardens, and working with South Hams Council for a European style eatery along the Embankment.” More than 60 Dartmouth businesses have joined a VisitEngland “Good to Go” campaign, with certificates and logos to demonstrate they’ve fulfilled Covid health and safety criteria. Laura said: “We’re in the process


of distributing stickers, funded by Discover Dartmouth with


additional support from Dartmouth Town Council, to display to their customers that they’re ‘Good to Go’. “We’ve also created some lovely


videos, being shown on social media, to show people can safely dine, explore, shop and travel in Dartmouth - to promote the town as a safe location and demonstrate how hard businesses have worked to keep things safe.” Dartmouth was hit hard by the


cancellation of largescale events last year, and many are nervously wondering if this season will go ahead as planned. Laura said: “For our festivals this


year there are tight protocols for health and safety in place and the usual focus on local engagement. Dartmouth Food Festival are determined to hold their events subject to, and if, restrictions allow. The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta is going ahead with all events, guided by any restrictions at the time. “Like everyone, we’re waiting


to see what legislation comes out and will ensure we are following guidelines from the Government and VisitEngland.” Laura is also director for the


Dartmouth Mayflower 400 project, celebrated globally last year. She said: “Thankfully our plans were mainly localised and


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