Festival of the Countryside

The Festival is a partnership initiative in the development and promotion of green tourism in rural Wales. Its main aims are:

There are 15 more detailed objectives or actions:

The initiative was launched in 1985 as a contribution to the World Conservation Strategy, under the direction of CYNEFIN, a Welsh Conservation Foundation. It is now managed by Festival of the Countryside Gwyl Cefn Gwlad Cyf.

The main partners are the Countryside Council for Wales, Wales Tourist Board, national parks and local authorities, wildlife trusts. amenity organisations and community groups, along with a large number of individual local operators and small tourism businesses. A small central team directly organises key events, identifies opportunities for innovation, and works with others to develop and establish new events. It also pulls together and markets the overall programme through the publication of a main and winter guide which lists and keys out all the activities. The team provides a year-round support and advisory service. Numerous community generated events have been established over the years, including a farming festival, conservation and crafts fair, village exhibition, walks and talks programmes and rural arts events. One of the main problems encountered has been continuity of funding, but successful ERDF bids in 1994 and 1998 and extension of the Festival to include the whole of the Rural Wales Objective 5b area has given it a sounder financial footing.

The Festival has been presented as a case study at a number of European conferences and is included in the Manual of Heritage Management, published by Butterworth-Heinemann in 1994. Its flexible approach makes it applicable to a wide range of other areas, working as it does with the local environment and the people who live there.

Over 14 years, the Festival of the Countryside has built up a body of expertise and experience in the area of green tourism, or responsible rural tourism. Its small central team has experience of:

In addition to building up the programme to include over 1000 events/attractions/activities which convey the natural beauty and sense of place of rural Wales, the team also works closely with agencies and operators in developing the region's tourism economy. The Festival has been a central contributor to the Sustainable Tourism Strategy for Mid Wales .

Outside consultancy has included the production of a coastal tourism marketing plan for the West Wales Task Force, research and editing of Who's Who in the Environment: Wales, as well as contributing to numerous international seminars and conferences, including one sponsored by DGXXIII of the European Commission on EUROTOURISM: Culture and Countryside, held in Athens on 27-28 May 1994.

The Festival publishes two yearly guides, which are distributed to Tourist Offices and other organisations and is also the author of a publication ' Animating Rural Tourism' .

The Festival has strong working links with other green tourism initiative in the UK, is a trans-national partner in a tourism ecolabelling initiative being piloted by NASC in the West of Ireland, and has contacts with other European organisations such as the Instituto de Desarollo Comunitario de Galicia and Gites de France in Brittany.

Information Source

Prepared by ...
Festival of the Countryside
23 Frolic Street, Newtown, Powys, Wales, UK, SY16 1AP
Telephone +44 1686 625384 Facsimile +44 1686 629556
E-Mail [email protected] Web URL http://www.wiss.co.uk/foc/

Commercial Details
Any other Information General advice free of charge; consultancy fee for detailed work