A YORKSHIRE Dales businesswoman has been appointed to lead a campaign to attract tourists through the promotion of local food and drink.
Helen Dalton has become the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s “Destination Co-ordinator”. She has already had exciting discussions with the Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes, about developing a programme of cheese-themed events and activities to take place this autumn.
She will be working with businesses through networking and training events; running a Facebook group called “Distinctly Dales - YDNPA business support” and creating food trails to connect visitors to the best the Dales has to offer.
The two-year post, funded by the Rural Development Programme for England, has been created to build on the good work being done by existing tourism business networks operating in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, as well as the Howardian Hills and Nidderdale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Helen has run Holmedale bed and breakfast in Askrigg, near Hawes, for the past nine years, and also writes for the bi-monthly Superfood magazine.
“Through the B&B I’ve been given a great insight into what tourists want," she said. "Two things stand out. First, visitors seldom do their research and really appreciate recommendations on where to go and what to do. That’s why businesses would benefit from being better connected and working together to share everything we have to offer for our visitors.
“Second, tourists like to experience something distinctly Dales. Very often, that means eating and drinking local produce. So, could the pub selling local lamb put out a board telling customers which farm it came from, or offer a traditional recipe on the menu? When people go on holiday, they like to understand the history and the story of the food and drink.”
The YDNPA’s Head of Visitor Services, Julie Barker, said: “Helen’s appointment is excellent news. She has years of experience as a development manager for a major retailer and a good understanding of our visitors through the Askrigg hospitality trade.
"I know that she’s really looking forward to working directly with local businesses to further develop what is distinctive about their area, their sense of place, and how to use that in their marketing.”