Tourism is a very important activity on the Northumberland coast. The economy of the Northumberland coast relies heavily on income from visitors. The same visitors bring pressure on the resources on which tourism relies – the high quality environment, peace and tranquillity of the AONB. It is the role of the AONB Partnership to ensure that tourism flourishes here, providing income and jobs whilst protecting the natural resources of the AONB.
Most of the activities that visitors do – walking along beaches and paths, cycling, watersports and visiting towns and villages, don’t cost anything to do. Providing the resources and facilities that people need to enjoy these activities such as good paths and cycle tracks, access to the beach, car parks and toilet facilities cost money to provide. This is a challenge for the local authority and others.
What is sustainable tourism?
Sustainable tourism is tourism that takes account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing and seeking to balance, the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities. To make tourism more sustainable we need to take this into account with regards to planning, development and operation of tourism.
Tourism must therefore benefit the economy, the environment and provide social benefit – the triple bottom line. If it does not then it is simply not sustainable.
Sustainable tourism is therefore about promoting and attracting visitors to an area, encouraging them to experience and enjoy the place, whilst not spoiling it for other visitors or local people. Sustainable tourism is at an appropriate scale, encouraging quiet enjoyment, and re investing in the economy and communities which support the landscape.
Northumberland Coast AONB Tourism Strategy
The Northumberland Coast AONB Tourism Strategy has now been published and adopted alongside the AONB Management Plan by Northumberland County Council.
The strategy sets out how we want tourism to develop to over the next five years to make sure it supports the economy and local people and protects and enhances the AONB.
You can also view the results of the full visitor survey or summary which informed the sustainable tourism strategy.
European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas
We have begun the process of working towards achieving The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas.
The charter is awarded to protected areas that are delivering tourism that is both nature and landscape friendly and which contributes to the economic development of the region.
The charter approach ensures that organisations, local people and businesses are working together to protect the area, while at the same time increasing opportunities for visitors to discover and enjoy its special qualities.
The journey towards achieving the charter has only just begun, there is a lot of work to do. Watch this space for further updates.
For more information, visit the charter website.
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