How can tourists contribute to the local economy while visiting small towns in Devon?

When you travel to the south west of England, the beautiful and varied landscapes of Devon await you. From charming rural towns to stunning coastlines, Devon offers a unique experience to both domestic and international tourists. As you traverse the region, you might start wondering how you can contribute to the local economy and support sustainable tourism.

Sustaining Rural Businesses Through Tourism

Devon is home to a myriad of small, rural businesses that serve as the backbone of their respective local economies. These businesses, ranging from quaint B&Bs and artisan bakeries, to independent clothing boutiques, often rely on the influx of tourists during certain times of the year. By choosing to support these local businesses, you're not only purchasing a unique product or service but also contributing to a thriving, sustainable business sector.

Don't hesitate to ask for a local's recommendation when you're looking for a place to eat or shop. They'll guide you towards the hidden gems that aren't on the usual tour guides and will offer you an authentic Devon experience. These local businesses often source their products locally, which further supports the local economy and reduces environmental impact.

Supporting Local Events and Festivals

Devon hosts numerous local events throughout the year, each offering a unique insight into the region's culture and traditions. By attending these events, you contribute to a significant revenue stream for the area, while immersing yourself in the local culture.

Take for example, the annual Dawlish Carnival, a week-long celebration of music, dance, and community spirit in the charming seaside town of Dawlish. Or the Devon County Show, a three-day event showcasing the best of the area's agriculture, food, and drink. Attending these events not only enriches your travel experience but also injects money directly into the local economy.

Promoting Sustainable Tourism in Devon

As a tourist, you have a direct impact on the environment and local communities. One way to reduce this impact and contribute to the local economy is through sustainable tourism practices.

When you travel, consider using public transport, cycling, or walking to explore. This not only reduces carbon emissions but also gives you a unique view of Devon's picturesque landscapes. Many businesses in Devon are taking steps to become more sustainable, offering eco-friendly accommodation options and locally-sourced food and drink.

You can further contribute to sustainability by respecting the local environment. Stick to designated paths when exploring the countryside, don't disturb wildlife, and always take your litter home with you. These simple actions help preserve Devon's natural beauty for future generations and support the local tourism sector.

Visiting Off-the-beaten Path Locations

While iconic sites such as Dartmoor National Park and the cities of Exeter and Plymouth are must-sees, don't overlook the lesser-known towns and villages in Devon. By venturing off the beaten path, you're supporting smaller, less touristy areas and distributing tourism revenue more evenly across the region.

Take the opportunity to explore towns like Dawlish, known for its historic railway line and black swans, or the picturesque village of Clovelly, with its cobbled streets and charming cottages. Each offers a unique view of Devon's rich history and culture, and your patronage helps support the businesses in these smaller communities.

Encouraging Others to Visit Devon

Finally, one of the most powerful ways you can support the local economy is by sharing your experiences with others. Post about the charming B&B you stayed at in Ilfracombe, or the amazing farm-to-fork meal you had in Totnes. Recommend Devon to your friends and family, and encourage them to support local businesses during their visit.

In an age where digital word-of-mouth is so influential, your positive endorsement can significantly boost tourism and support the economy of this beautiful part of the world. So, as you explore Devon, don't forget to share your experiences and help others discover this beautiful part of England.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your visit to Devon is not only a memorable experience for you but also beneficial for the local economy and environment. Whether it's supporting local businesses, attending events, promoting sustainability, exploring lesser-known areas, or sharing your experiences, your actions as a tourist play a vital role in supporting the vibrant communities of Devon.

Investing in Local Arts and Crafts

Visiting Devon provides the opportunity to delve into a world of traditional crafts and artisan creations. South Devon, in particular, is known for its thriving arts and crafts scene, with local artists, potters, and jewelers showcasing their talents in workshops and markets throughout the region.

By purchasing a piece of local artwork or a handmade craft, you are investing in the local arts scene and directly supporting the artists who call Devon home. These items often have a story to tell, reflecting the region's heritage, the artist's personal journey, or the natural beauty of Devon itself.

Art markets, such as those in Newton Abbot and Sidmouth, abound with handmade goods, from pottery and paintings to textiles and jewelry. These markets offer an excellent opportunity to meet the artists, learn about their craft, and purchase a unique souvenir or gift. Additionally, many of these markets are dog friendly, offering a wonderful outing for the entire family.

In addition to markets, you might also consider taking part in a craft workshop or art class during your visit. This not only provides a unique and immersive experience, but also directly supports the artists and venues offering these services.

Exploring Devon’s Natural Reserves and Parks

Devon's natural reserves and parks offer an unspoilt escape into nature and are integral to the region's appeal as a tourist destination. By visiting these areas, you are supporting the conservation efforts and contributing to the sustainability of these protected areas.

Whether you're exploring the coastal splendors of Seaton and Sidmouth, or the stunning landscapes of Exmouth and Honiton, these areas offer an array of outdoor activities. From bird watching and nature walks, to cycling and picnicking, these reserves and parks cater to an array of interests and fitness levels.

It's crucial to remember that while these areas are open for us to enjoy, they are also home to a variety of wildlife. As such, it's important to adhere to the basic principles of responsible tourism. Stick to the marked paths, avoid disturbing the wildlife, and ensure you take any litter home with you.

Conclusion - Supporting Rural Tourism in Devon

Visiting Devon is more than just a vacation – it's an opportunity to contribute to the local economy, support small businesses, and promote sustainable tourism. Whether you're sampling the local food and drink, attending cultural events, staying in a charming B&B, or purchasing local arts and crafts, every choice you make as a tourist has an impact.

Venturing to lesser-known towns like Sidmouth, Teignmouth, and Newton Abbot, adds value to your visit, allowing you to explore the beauty of rural areas and support the communities in these regions. As you traverse the landscapes of West Devon, remember that even the smallest actions, from respecting local customs to using public transport, can contribute significantly to the conservation of this beautiful region.

By visiting Devon, you're not only creating lasting memories for yourself but also leaving a positive impact on the local communities and the environment. So, as you plan your trip to this picturesque region in the south west of England, consider how you can help nurture the vibrant communities, the environment, and the thriving tourism sector of Devon.