Far from shunning Britain in favour of its gastronomic European cousins, Brits are now happy to stay on terra firma for their holidays with the promise of delicious regional food and drink on their doorsteps. According to a survey issued today (6 August 2005) by Food From Britain, Britain, once infamous for its unpalatable food, is now a nation of mouth-watering delights so tempting that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of Brits would consider holidaying here solely because of the food and drink on offer.
British food tourism is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for both British and foreign holidaymakers and the industry is booming thanks to an increased awareness of regional produce such as scones served with Cornish clotted cream, Morecambe Bay shrimps, Cromer crabs and regional cheeses including Stilton and Wensleydale.
There is also a growing trend for Brits to visit local food and drink tourist attractions or specific restaurants renown for their quality British produce – 64 percent of those in the NOP survey agreed they consider visiting them if holidaying in this country. The younger the respondent the more likely they were to respond positively, with 71 percent of 18-24 year olds and 25-34 answering positively, compared to 67 percent of 45-54 year olds, 59 percent of 55-64 year olds and 55 percent of people over 65.
The West Country was revealed as the top British location for its regional produce, such as West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and Somerset cider, with more than one in five people saying they would most like to visit that region for its food and drink. London and Northern Scotland, renown for its whisky and smoked salmon, were the second most popular, while Wales, famous for its lamb, came third.
“The findings of the survey do not surprise me at all,” said Jane Wakeling, Regional Food and Drink Manager, Food From Britain. “For a long time Britain has been reversing the perception of poor quality foods and we are now seen as a nation that has more to offer than just fish and chips and roast beef. In fact Britain now boast 14 entries in the list of the world’s 50 best restaurants and an English wine has just been named the best sparkling wine in the world.
“The results confirm that food tourism is a burgeoning industry in the UK and with a continuing number of Brits recognising the quality produce on their doorsteps, I hope these figures can be improved upon even further.”
Age appeared to be a factor in whether people embraced Britain as a viable holiday destination because of its food and drink offerings. People in the 45-54 age bracket are the most likely to stay on home soil because of the food and drink on offer, while the 55-64 age group are least likely. There was very little variation between the sexes.