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29.03.06
Location is still top for Cornish rural tourism industry

Gina Woodcraft, chief executive of Cartwheel Rural TourismThe draw of Cornwall as a rural tourism destination is as strong as ever according to the results of a survey announced today, investigating how people prefer to search for a countryside break in the South West.

The region's leading rural tourism organisation Cartwheel ran the survey on its website www.cartwheelholidays.co.uk from April last year. From the survey, five new links to accommodation specialising in experiences like good food or relaxation were created alongside more traditional location and accommodation type listings.

The results showed that, given the choice, nine out of 10 people opted to search by location first, closely followed by accommodation type. "This is good news for Cornwall," says Gina Woodcraft, chief executive of Cartwheel. "It shows the county remains firmly fixed in people's psyches as a top rural holiday destination, because of the full mix of experiences like local food, stunning scenery and top quality accommodation. People understand these are integral to a rural break here, so don't feel the need to seek any one of them out to the exclusion of others."

The exercise was undertaken by Cartwheel to ascertain the best marketing approach for the rural tourism industry in the South West. In line with South West Tourism's regional strategy to promote experience-led products, Gina Woodcraft believes the results show that rural tourism itself is seen as a niche holiday option, within which a variety of experiences are integral.

"People coming through to our website are already searching for the experience of a countryside or farm break," she says. "The research confirms that further differentiation of the rural holiday experience isn't currently needed. This is a good result. It's great that the countryside, itself a holiday niche, can embrace and deliver such a range of experiences."

While the survey confirms that destination currently reigns supreme, the organisation's website analysis continues to show that offerings with good differentiation and marketing material are always more successful at securing business. "Rural offerings need to be very clear about what makes them different or special," continues Gina Woodcraft. "Being based in Cornwall will certainly attract interest, but it's the detail and added value that will bring in the booking."

For the marketing survey Cartwheel produced five new experience-based listings - good for food; relax and pamper; toddler friendly; top quality; and special wildlife focus. Businesses which had already chosen to major in these areas were hand picked to feature in the new listings, and these were then promoted alongside the more traditional destination links.

Cartwheel's advice to farmers and rural communities looking to promote tourism businesses is to focus on the countryside experience they offer plus other elements that set them apart. The priority then is to communicate this through good websites, quality photography and an efficient, personal service.

The Cartwheel website continues to feature its niche holiday options and the organisation will continue to monitor traffic so that it can respond to any change in consumer trends.

The website can be found at www.cartwheelholidays.co.uk.

For further information please contact Veronica Newport of NPR on 01363 866927 or email: veronica@n-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Cartwheel through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Martin Butler, at Government Office South West on 01752 635015 before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

Web statistics – from 01.03.05 to 28.02.06 there were 258,288 visits to the Cartwheel website with a total of 222,216 page views, or which 199,995 (90 per cent) were location and accommodation led.

Cartwheel is the South West of England's leading farm and rural holiday company, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a unique countryside experience. It is a private sector limited company run by farmers, committed to raising the standard and profile of rural tourism in the South West.

All Cartwheel members are independently inspected according to the company's quality criteria which encompasses accommodation, local food, green tourism and sustainable land management.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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