HELP PUT THE PEAK ON THE WORLD TOURISM MAP, URGES DUKE

Stand together, shout loudly and support the official tourist board’s ongoing quest to promote the Peak District as a world-class destination.

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That was the clarion call from the Duke of Devonshire, keynote speaker at Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s annual Tourism Conference this week (Wednesday May 9) – who urged local businesses to become members of the tourist board and play an active role in its national and international marketing strategy.

“You will get outstanding value for money, and you will be doing your bit to help place the Peak District on the map alongside big national and international destinations – where it should be,” the Duke told more than 200 delegates at the event, staged at Buxton’s showpiece Pavilion Gardens.

“This is the way we can work together towards a more prosperous future. Join today, join now. Take this message out to every tourism business you meet, and persuade them to join, too. If we can make this work, we can make this most beautiful part of England into an even more thriving tourism destination.”

The Duke, who represents the tourism industry on the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, paid tribute to the ‘sterling work’ of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, and stressed the need for more support from the private sector as pressure on public sector resources continues to mount.

“However hard the tourist board works, it needs our support. It is clear we need a stronger voice to be a much stronger destination, and to work together in our marketing efforts to attract more visitors to stay longer. We must shout extremely loudly to get the Peak District in the forefront of as many people’s minds as possible, and help the team at the tourist board continue to do the job they are so good and experienced at, and dedicated to.”

The Duke added that he was ‘greatly honoured’ that Chatsworth had become the tourist board’s first Patron by pledging an additional £2,500 to support its work throughout 2012/13, and urged businesses of a similar size to join the new scheme.Delegates got plenty of food for thought plus the key ingredients for a recipe for future success during the day-long event. Popular television presenter and chef Simon Rimmer was just one element in a delicious menu of ideas designed to help businesses boost their performance and profits throughout 2012 and beyond.

The audience enjoyed a taste of the very best of the Peak District as the tourist board showcased and celebrated the huge range of people, places, products, projects and services that give the area its star appeal.

Buxton Crescent, Chatsworth, world hang gliding and paragliding champion Judy Leden, The National Forest, Wirksworth Festival, Buxton Water and Taste Tideswell all featured in a day-long appreciation designed to inspire everyone who attended.

Simon Rimmer – currently presenter and resident chef on the Channel 4 programme Sunday Brunch – compered an entertaining and informative afternoon cook-in.

He was joined by two high-profile Derbyshire chefs – Max Fischer of Michelin- starred Fischers Baslow Hall, and Simon Bradley, head chef at award-winning East Lodge Hotel & Restaurant, Rowsley.

Both prepared a two-course meal using as much local and seasonal produce as possible. Throughout the demonstration, Simon quizzed them about the importance of local produce, especially Peak District specialities they regularly use or prepare – and two lucky members of the audience were invited to sample the simple, yet creative results.

“This year’s conference was a wonderful opportunity for businesses of all kinds to explore ways of maximising their potential and profits throughout a key year for British tourism and beyond,” said David James, Chief Executive at the tourist board.

“We were delighted to welcome Simon Rimmer, our own ‘home-grown’ chefs and the Duke of Devonshire, who gave his own personal take on the importance of tourism to the local and regional economy, pledged his backing for our new membership scheme and called on all businesses in the area to follow his example.

“The conference proved to be the ideal forum for visitors, other businesses and local people to discover and celebrate everything that makes the area so special and unique. It’s vital that we all work together and pool our resources, both public and private, to compete in today’s fiercely competitive tourism market.”

Full details of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s new membership scheme and marketing opportunities in 2012/13 can be found at http://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/industry, or by contacting the tourist board’s industry team on 01246 212924.

This year’s conference was sponsored by Buxton Water and High Peak Borough Council.

Simon Rimmer will return to the area later in the month to demonstrate his culinary skills at the Derbyshire Food & Drink Fair 2012 at Hardwick Hall, near Chesterfield on May 26 and 27, and later in the year, to host the Derbyshire Food & Drink Awards 2012 in November.

Ends.

Note to News Editors

An accompanying high resolution image is attached for print media. Caption: Popular television presenter and chef Simon Rimmer (centre) helps cook up a recipe for success for Peak District businesses at the tourist board’s 2012 Conference, along with (left to right): David James, Chief Executive, Visit Peak District & Derbyshire; The Duke of Devonshire; Simon Bradley, head chef at award-winning East Lodge Hotel & Restaurant, Rowsley; Max Fischer of Michelin-starred Fischers Baslow Hall and Andrew Pugh, Chairman of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire.

Visit Peak District & Derbyshire – the area’s official tourist board – works with VisitBritain, VisitEngland, Derbyshire County Council, all local authorities in the Peak District and Derbyshire, tourism business partners and surrounding tourism organisations that share the Peak District. It is committed to the successful and sustainable development of tourism.

For further details, visit http://www.visitpeakdistrict.com or contact Janette Sykes, PR Manager, on 07792 924839 or at janette.sykes@visitpeakdistrict.com.

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