Family-run operation Welsh Hills Bakery triumphed at the South and Mid Wales Chambers Welsh Business Awards in the Success in Overseas Trade category and went on to be named overall winner on the night.The Hirwaun-based business, which supplies gluten-, dairy- and wheat-free cakes and biscuits to countries including Australia and the Middle East, triumphed in the Success through Overseas Trade category for the second year running, before being named overall winner at the ceremony last week (23 February).The 60-year-old bakery was started in 1956 by Aberdare baker Ernest Rule and his wife Ruby. It is now run by the third generation of the same family, employs 82 staff and produces over 80 product lines.Last year the business sold around £5m-worth of products, 20% of which were exports. The first company to supply two major UK supermarket chains (Sainsbury’s and Tesco) with their own brand of gluten-free products, it has since added others to the portfolio including Asda, Waitrose, Morrisons and Holland & Barrett.“Last year, at these awards, we were privileged to win the Success through Overseas Trade Welsh Business Award,” said Julian Cruttenden, commercial head of Welsh Hills Bakery. “To win it twice is overwhelming. The acknowledgement that we were doing a great job encouraged us to focus our efforts even more on the export sector.“In 2016, 20% of our sales were in exports. We are currently in talks with Japan and Dubai and planning to increase that figure by a further 50% in the next 12 months. All this and we are about to appear in a Morrisons advert. This support and validation means the world to us.”
The third summer of the festival with Rabac Open Air was full of great concerts, circus performances, interactive performances, top jazz, movies under the starry sky and many other events that flooded the streets of Rabac and Labin. During the 78 days of the festival, more than 18 performers changed at 19 different locations and through 200 different programs, and as many as 158 hours of music were played for over 30 visitors to the Rabac Open Air, which was held in Rabac for the third time this summer. Rabac / Poreč Open is an excellent example of quality content and an imperative for sustainable and quality development of the destination. Today in the modern age there is really no excuse to stagnate, everything is known and everything is available. Investing in events is not a cost but an investment If we want to have a good attendance and a good story, we must invest, ie invest money in quality content. Without content there is no story, no visitors and ultimately no interest. The goal is to offer quality products and services that visitors are willing to pay and consume, and of course the story of the event as the main motive for coming. The most important thing is to complete the whole story, both to the visitors and to the partners who are inside the festival through catering and other facilities. The event must be a win-win-win for everyone, because if only one element is missing, everything falls into the water. Based on an excellent and successful concept, Poreč Open Air (this year Poreč Open Air was visited by more than 63.000 visitors through 68 days of the festival, and at a total of 29 locations, a total of 231 performers realized 137 events), Valamar launched Rabac Open Air, exclusively because he had to offer his guests experiences and a quality program, not just the sun and the sea and great accommodation. These are guests who want and ask for more. They are looking for authentic, diverse and quality content in destinations. Valamar cannot wait for the destination to wake up, as it simply has to deliver value for the money it offers. And so the idea came to take their own destiny into their own hands. But instead of the destination pulling and leading the game, in Croatia we have the absurdity of hotel houses pulling and developing destinations. Of course, everyone in the destination must be part of one story, but still the development of the destination must be taken care of by the City and the Tourist Board as a kind of DMC company, and others follow them synergistically. Are we involved in development or is it just happening to us? Are we growing by inertia or are we still posting some strategic plan behind the whole story? Who deals with these processes? Do we measure the quality and reactions of tourists? We want growth, ok, and can that infrastructure grow and endure? What profile of tourists do we want at all and where do we see ourselves in 5,10 years? Do we even have enough parking spaces for all tourists? Etc.… a lot of questions, and that is why tourism is extremely complex because it is not one industry, but tourism connects vertically and horizontally all other industries that must function synergistically as a “Swiss watch”. And that is why the strategic and sustainable development of alpha and omega is in the development of tourism. “We are proud of the fact that more than 30.000 guests visited the festival and enjoyed 95 different entertainment events, which is almost twice as much content as the first festival edition in 2017. It is extremely important to offer visitors an additional experience of entertainment in the destination, so we at Valamar are happy to be able to realize a successful concept of a summer festival like this for the third year in a row. High attendance and interest of foreign guests and locals is the best confirmation of our work, and this time we want to announce that we have already begun preparations for the new edition of Rabac Open Air 2020. “, Pointed out Vlatka Ilečić Arklinić, Head of the Destination Management Department at Valamar Riviera. It is a skeleton and a great example that must be followed by all other destinations, because the motive for coming is not accommodation, but precisely the destination. And the concept of the sun and the sea has long since ceased to be sufficient or sustainable. This story opens up a lot of themes, but it also opens up a theme and values for money. We are constantly revolving around narratives of how expensive we are. It is not a question of prices, but of value for money. Do we give that value for money at the destination? People will pay something “more expensive” if they have a positive sense of value for money and if we deliver a unique experience to them. In tourism, the service is the alpha and omega, and if we want to go one step further, we must not only meet the expectations of tourists, but delight them above the level of expectations. The level of quality and service in the accommodation, at least when it comes to hotel accommodation is taken for granted, according to the categorization. That is the standard, which of course we have to keep up. It is the destination and quality content that plays a key role here and makes a difference. The key word of the tourist mosaic is strategic development. He is behind the whole story Valamar Riviera, as well as local project partners, the City of Labin, the Tourist Board of Labin-Rabac, the Tourist Board of the Istrian County and other partners, and the production and organization of the whole story is done by MPG, a longtime partner of Valamar. It is a skeleton and a great example that must be followed by all other destinations, because the motive for coming is not accommodation, but precisely the destination. And the concept of the sun and the sea has long since ceased to be sufficient or sustainable. Rabac Open Air (ROA) is an excellent quality and diverse content in the destination, exactly what we chronically lack in most of our destinations. Thus, various concerts, circus performances, animations, workshops, interactive performances, films under the starry sky and numerous other events that flooded the streets of Rabac and Labin were held as part of the ROA. It is important to emphasize that one did not go to one or a couple of strong and big concerts and that is it, but just the opposite. Hundreds of small quality programs have been realized, targeting various target groups or content done for each group of tourists. A smart decision because that is how the program was maintained in the period from June 15 to August 29, not a couple of days. To conclude, Rabac / Poreč Open Air is an excellent example and proof that quality content is imperative for destination development, and an excellent domestic example of how this is done in practice. How to develop a destination, here’s how! Synergy is needed, literally everyone in the destination, from small to large, because it is this tourist mosaic and all the subjects and participants make up the destination. The Rabac Open Air program again this year offered extremely rich content through four categories. Thus, visitors from the Special Events, Cinema and Theater, Street Music and Street Performance programs enjoyed entertainment in several locations from mid-June to the end of August. This is great proof that investing in events is not a cost but an investment. Excellent quality content was generated in the tourist destination, tourist consumption and the whole tourist story was completed. If we want to increase tourist consumption, have better quality guests, then it can certainly no longer offer only the sun and the sea. Quality, diverse and authentic content is imperative. In addition to the fact that through various facilities guests have something to do in the destination, in addition to swimming, we directly raise the overall satisfaction of tourists with the destination, as well as increase tourist spending, and thus the profile of guests. Not only in the financial context, but with targeted content, we target a specific target group that is attracted to the destination by active vacation, culture, entertainment, etc.… Of course, first and foremost we need to know which tourism product we build and for whom, our vision of development. strategic development of the destination, both through the offer, service, arrangement and contents. Photo: Valamar / Rabac Open Air Quality, diverse and authentic content is imperative The key word is strategic development A hotel or a hotel brand, no matter how strong, whether in financial, human resources or any other form, cannot develop a destination on its own. It simply does not make decisions outside its domain, and the destination is not a hotel, but the term destination refers to an entire space and all participants in it. The level of service can be phenomenal at the hotel, but if the destination is bad, everyone loses. As well as vice versa. “Attendance, which is growing from year to year, is proof that visitors really enjoy the attractive program and content of the festival. We have been working on the offer of the festival for a very long time and we are carefully designing what Rabac Open Air will offer to its guests. And in order for both the little ones and the big ones to be able to enjoy themselves equally, we have provided various events, such as concerts, theater performances, movie hits, socializing with favorite cartoon characters and much more. Rabac is one of the great examples of how a destination can develop through quality and fun content”, Said Ivana Biškupić, Project Manager of Rabac Open Air Festival from MPG.