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Tourism on the Increase in the Heart of Devon

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Tourism businesses in the Heart of Devon, a tourism partnership promoting East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and parts of Teignbridge, have seen an increase in visitor numbers over the summer months.

The newly branded Heart of Devon tourism partnership attributes this to a targeted and focused national marketing campaign promoting the Heart of Devon area and an online campaign that has seen a leap of 129% visitors to the website.

Despite the recession and some other areas of the South West experiencing a decline in visitor numbers, tourism providers in East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and parts of Teignbridge have experienced an increase in bookings for June, July and August, compared to the same period in 2009.

Sandy Tilke of Treasure Trails Devon says she has seen the number of visitors taking one of their trails dramatically increase, with a 275% increase in sales over July and August compared to last year - she calls this the 'daycation' effect, a fun day out for families that costs very little.

Other attractions in the area, such as Escot Park near Ottery St Mary, and Crealy Great Adventure Park near Exeter have also had a very successful summer with numbers up on last year.

 Crealy has seen the number of visitors camping overnight at the park increase by 75% from 2009. Both Escot and Crealy have invested in new developments this year. Escot launched its 'Camp Wild' summer camp in July, and Crealy recently opened its new Vortex watercoaster as well as the new Woodlands Wilderness Wildlife Adventure Area.

Accommodation providers have also fared well, with Mazzard Farm near Ottery St Mary having a 100% occupancy rate throughout July and visitors staying in the University of Exeter's accommodation over the summer increasing by up to 30% in 2010. The Hartnoll Hotel in Tiverton recently invested in a refurbishment and has seen its occupancy rates increase by 30% on last year's figures and turnover increase by 66%.

The Heart of Devon Tourism Partnership is planning an extensive marketing campaign over the next 12 months to raise further awareness of the area and attract more visitors. Campaigns will be targeted at families, activity holidays and cultural breaks. An "On Your Doorstep" campaign will also be launched to encourage visitors from within the South West to visit and explore the Heart of Devon.

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