South West rural businesses to benefit from country sports project

The new £1.6 million Country Sports South West project is now underway and rural businesses are being invited to make contact with the development team to find out how the project could add value to their business.

The Country Sports development team aims to help South West rural businesses which offer country sporting activities with marketing and delivery of a quality product. The team can also advise people who want to explore the opportunities of starting a country sporting enterprise; whether in sporting shooting, fishing, equine or hospitality. This will involve working with farms and accommodation-providers around the region, offering practical advice and assistance on business development, identifying new business opportunities, offering training information and networking opportunities and advising how to link up with the Country Sports South West consumer campaign.

Country Sports South West is an initial three year project to ensure that the South West region, which is renowned for its unique landscape and countryside, becomes the premier tourism destination for country sports and celebrated for its local game and fish. The new project also aims to improve the visitor experience and participation in country sports while creating sustainable rural tourism businesses which can respond to the future challenges and exploit new opportunities.

Annette Cole, senior country sports manager, said: “Many South West rural businesses are now looking for advice about how to diversify into the tourism and country sports sector and add value to their businesses."

"This exciting and unique regional project appeals directly to these businesses and will ultimately help to drive up quality throughout the sector so that the South West becomes the number one country sport destination for visitors. 

The website will be an added bonus for businesses as they will be able to reach a new country sport consumer market. We would like to hear from any South West rural businesses which currently offer shooting, equine, or freshwater fishing opportunities and are looking for advice in terms of developing their product, or from those who are keen to hear about our marketing opportunities.” 

Key statistics reveal how important the country sports economy is, especially for the South West:  Shooting alone is worth £1.6 billion per year to the UK economy and the economic contribution of sporting shooting for the South West is worth £270m (2006 research). The economic activity generated by angling in England and Wales (based on 2009 research) is estimated to be worth about a billion pounds. For the South West, anglers’ annual expenditure on fishing inland waters totalled approximately £100 million.

A consumer marketing and PR programme will launch in spring 2011 and will focus on the various country sports and activities available around the South West.  This will also include attendance at key farming and consumer shows and arranging consumer taster days. In addition, a website aimed at first time and existing country sport visitors will launch in spring 2011.

This project is part of the Rural Development Programme for England project (RDPE) (jointly funded by the EU and Defra) in partnership with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and The Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT).

South West rural businesses are being invited to make contact with the Country Sport Development Team, where they can receive expert advice about the country sports tourism industry, receive specific business development advice and find out more about the various marketing opportunities associated with the project. Contact: Annette Cole, senior country sports manager, by emailing annette.cole@basc.org.uk, phoning 01823 480938 or visiting www.countrysportssouthwest.co.uk

British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC)

Westcountry Rivers Trust