A new strategy has been developed to help support and grown northern Devon’s half-billion pound tourism industry.

The Northern Devon Tourism Strategy has been developed by North Devon and Torridge district councils and North Devon Marketing Bureau.

The strategy sets out how the councils will develop tourism in the region over the five years, with a view to attracting year-round, ‘world-class’ hospitality.

It includes using the region’s natural environment, including beaches and areas of outstanding natural beauty, and its market towns and attractions to ensure northern Devon ‘excites and delights’ ‘higher-value’ visitors.

An estimated 6.3 million visitors visited the region in 2016 – with 5 million of those day trips.

The total visitors are estimated to bring in £0.56billion to the local economy, supporting more than 11,100 local jobs.

North Devon Council’s executive member for economic development, Councillor Pat Barker, said: “Our five year strategy looks at ways in which we can attract high-value visitors and make the most of what we already have here in North Devon.

“This strategy, and the action plan that will follow, are focused on making our tourism sector sustainable and ensuring the social and economic benefits are felt across northern Devon, key to that will be ensuring we protect our unique environment for future generations to enjoy.”

Lead member for economy at Torridge, Councillor Bob Hicks, said: “The importance of tourism to our local economy is well known and I am pleased that, with our neighbouring Council and the industry itself we will come together to protect, enhance and promote the offer of northern Devon.

“The future of tourism here looks bright and by working in partnership to deliver the strategy and action plan we can ensure that this is the case for years to come.

“The more people that are welcomed to northern Devon to contribute sustainably to our local economy, the better for everyone.”

You can read a copy of the strategy at www.northdevon.gov.uk/tourismstrategy or www.torridge.gov.uk/tourism.