This project consisted of a feasibility study and evaluation which aimed to improve the economic viability of our market towns / rural service centres and their hinterland, through community led initiatives which attract visitors to their locality. It also aimed to promote sustainable tourism.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
In 2006 the Somerset Market Towns Forum received an investment of £14,760 in revenue funding to undertake a ‘Promoting our Market Towns study’. The primary purpose of this report was to help assess how the economic viability of Somerset’s market towns/rural service centres can be strengthened by the development of community led tourism/recreation initiatives which attract visitors to the area and how the capability of the sector to deliver sustainable tourism initiatives can be increased by identifying the support that is required.
There are two distinct elements to the final report; a detailed evaluation by Bournemouth University of two community led events and a feasibility study, undertaken by the Market Towns Forum Officer which identifies specific tourism related community led initiatives.
The two community led events evaluated were the Langport Walking festival and the Axbridge showcase event and provides a valuable economic impact assessment of both. The feasibility study provides detail on a wealth of community led tourism initiatives at varying stages across the county and provides an indication of the type and level of support these projects require.
The Market Towns Forum Officer is now in the process of consultation to identify ways in which they can work with county and district colleagues to assess what level of support is available to these towns in terms of the officer time for project development and identification of current and future funding opportunities.