Restaurants championing local food and food festivals big draw for domestic tourists

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Local food

Eating your way around the UK. According to VisitEngland, 76 per cent of domestic tourists would eat in a restaurant, pub or cafe if it offered food local to that region when on holiday. Photo: VisitEngland
Eating your way around the UK. According to VisitEngland, 76 per cent of domestic tourists would eat in a restaurant, pub or cafe if it offered food local to that region when on holiday. Photo: VisitEngland
Restaurants and pubs serving locally-sourced food and towns and cities hosting food festivals have become a major draw for domestic tourists, according to VisitEngland with more than three quarters of adults saying they want to dine in a restaurant, pub or cafe unique to the area when holidaying in England.

With British Food Fortnight (21 September to 6 October) in full swing, the marketing board's figures from last month's survey into participation and interest in food-related activities on holidays in England, show that British food is big business for tourism, particularly when delivered within hospitality. 

According to the survey, which questioned 1,253 UK adults on their holiday foodie habits, 29 per cent on holiday and 31 per cent on day trips have dined somewhere serving local food and produce in the last year while 21 per cent on holiday and 23 per cent on day trips bought food that was local to their destination. 

And while figures have grown for those who have taken food-related trips in the last year, it is set to grow further with more than half of those questioned saying they were likely to involve food in their next domestic holiday with pubs, restaurants and other hospitality outlets serving local food and retailers selling it set to benefit the most (76 per cent and 68 per cent respectively). 

Food festivals 

While farmers' markets and food festivals do not directly affect a hospitality business's profits, they are a key driver of visitors to an area which in turn can boost trade and chefs who participate in them can boost their own and their restaurant's profile. 

Last year 13 million day visits involved a trip to a food festival or farmers’ market and 26.2 million of us want to go to a food festival this year, showing they can be a big driver for tourist trade. 

In Leeds​, the number of people visiting its food festival this year was up 20 per cent on last year which organisers believe could improve yet again next year. 

Those aged under 45 with children aged between five and nine are most likely to have a food-related holiday with 69 per cent likely to visit food festivals, 70 per cent to farmers' markets and 85 per cent to visit restaurants serving local produce while those in the higher ABC1 social grades are also more interested than those in lower social grades in a food-related break. 

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1 comment

Huddersfield Food Festival

Posted by Cathy Burger,

We are a local business partnership operating in our town and it was for the reasons described above that we started our food festival over 13 years ago. It is now a thriving event with over 180,000 visitors attending over 4 days. With over 100 businesses being represented, over 50% of the businesses represented are local with 80% being from Yorkshire.

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