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International Cider Tourism Conference

Elizabeth Pimblett, Director, Gabe Cook, Advisor, Andy Black (Visit Herefordshire) and Susanna Forbes, writer and cider-maker, attended the conference in September 2018. We had an intense four days where we met local cider producers and visited cider houses; visited the cider museum with its small orchard; experienced Basque cider and food pairings as part of the evening culture; attended the conference; attended the local apple harvest celebrations in the town with cider producers, apple displays and the complete inclusion of all ages in the community gathering and pressing apples.

On our ‘day off’, we visited San Sebastian for more local food, culture and museums. Food pairing was an integral part of the whole experience: the celebratory dinner with the local mayor and other government representatives featured local delicacies (like sheeps’ milk cheese, explained by its traditionally attired cheesemongers) This was when we met other members of the public connected with the idea, and we got to try the samples brought by the conference delegates. The energy and enthusiasm was very appealing.

It was an exhilarating and inspiring visit because of the intense pride in the local product and culture, and also because of the opportunity to meet and learn from cider and perry producers & tourism professionals from ten nations.

Why is this good for Herefordshire? In brief, the conference resulted in an agreement to create an international route, with a website and promotional publicity. It will raise awareness amongst other cider producing countries.

The aims of the conference (and international cider and tourism group which was set up as a result) are:

  •  To unite the cider producing destinations encouraging collaboration and joint work for local development. 
  • Promote relations between the agri-food and tourism sectors. 
  • Preserve the identity, culture, historical and gastronomic heritage of the regions in which cider is produced.
  • Generate wealth through the promotion and commercialisation of a tourism product shared & promoted between the cider destinations.
  • Highlight the production of local apples and promote the career opportunities available to young people into the sector.
  • Share experiences and knowledge for the joint improvement of tourism services and the implementation of quality standards

Member countries have signed an agreement establishing the legal basis for the creation of a joint organisation.

The Basque region have funded the development of a new website to:-

  • The intention is to create a common brand for the international promotion of cider tourism, generating digital and physical media for joint promotion (corporate identity, website, brochure, video, social networks).
  • The intention to establish collaboration mechanisms for joint action in events and fairs.
  • To search for European funds to provide additional finance for the initiative.
  • The creation of an annual event that will be held in the participating destinations.

They were keen that Herefordshire would be the first place to host the next conference, partly due to our history, experience and enthusiasm.