Shining Through Challenging Times
Amanda Dowson Chair of Ribble Valley Tourism Association explains how the attractive Ribble Valley brand is at the heart of their success
It has been a turbulent time for the world of domestic tourism and hospitality, with the pandemic, rising costs and ongoing staffing shortages, together with many other challenges.
Locally, the Ribble Valley Tourism Association (RVTA) has continued to shine through this difficult time with businesses working collectively to find new ways of working and become even more creative.
The RVTA is a membership organisation open to any local businesses with an interest in tourism and hospitality. Its membership includes tourist attractions, accommodation and restaurants along with businesses providing professional services that support tourism.
“We are looking to the future with optimism,” explains Amanda Dowson, Chair of the Association. “Our membership grew throughout the pandemic period, during which, rather than close up shop, we continued to support members with live webinars, involving professional advice on finance, employment and legal matters.”
Amanda attributes the success of the association on a number of things – firstly, the strength of the Ribble Valley brand, which is rapidly gaining traction particularly in the promotion of food, walking, wedding and shopping. The Ribble Valley brand is something tourism businesses are keen to sign up to.
Secondly, the close working relationship enjoyed with Ribble Valley Borough Council, and in particular, its enthusiastic tourism officer who attends all RVTA meetings and supports the work it does, as well as consulting on all of the Council’s promotional activities.
The RVTA also has a keen new committee, elected by the membership, who plan and deliver a programme of events for members which are both useful and relevant. Recent events have included the AGM kindly hosted by the Three Fishes, Mitton, a lunch meeting at Toms Table Clitheroe and, their most recent meeting, at Theodore House where business grants and new walking initiatives were discussed, followed by an inciteful tour of Stonyhurst Museum.
Each year the RVTA, in partnership with the Council, also organises the ‘Stars in Tourism’, awards, which celebrate creativity and excellence in tourism.
Amanda adds: “Our awards are quite different from any other tourism awards, most of which have categories for the ‘best of’ in different sectors in the industry. In our awards we like to celebrate people, for example, ‘Unsung Heroes’ ‘Rising Stars’ – all the people who have gone the extra mile to provide outstanding service. We are also keen to recognise where a business has been particularly creative or resourceful. Events, big and small are also celebrated, as are new businesses.”
The Ribble Valley Stars in Tourism awards take place in spring each year and they also differ from other awards in that anyone can nominate or be nominated, which means some of the best nominations come from visitors or local people.
Amanda concludes: “The Ribble Valley Tourism Association provides a collective voice for tourism and our network grows stronger, with businesses learning from each other, and that is exactly how we aim to face the future, together.”
For more information about the Ribble Valley Tourism Association go to: rvta.co.uk