Sustainable Tourism – A Guide for Businesses

As a tourism business it is in your interest that sustainable tourism practices are put in place. The visitor should play an important role in achieving sustainability, but whether you’re an accommodation provider, a restaurant, a retailer…it is essential that you set the standards and strive for sustainability.

barkbooth lot 1 wBenefits of sustainable tourism

Public awareness and concern for eco issues are on the rise, so if your business isn’t doing its part for the environment, your business could suffer.

Sustainable tourism not only brings benefits for the natural environment and the community in which you operate, but it can be advantageous from a business perspective.

Greening your business could help:

  • Conserves resources
  • Reduces waste
  • Growth in local production and traditions
  • Reduces traffic congestion and therefore emissions
  • Protect natural landscapes and the environment
  • Support the local economy and employment
  • Attract a new, growing market of visitors who care about the environment
  • Enhance visitor experience
  • Save you money and maximise profits

Still not convinced? Look at the facts and figures. Greener business is good business.

 Sustainable Tourism Facts and Figures

Visit England Sustainability Consumer Research 2010

How your business can become sustainable

Sustainable tourism isn’t rocket science. Just a few simple steps can be implemented with instant benefits:

Who can help me with green tourism?

Training & Events

Nurture Lakeland can offer your business professional sustainable tourism advice. Contact us for more information at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or look out for training opportunities and current events.

Rememer, all Nurture Lakeland Business Members receive a free sustainable tourism advisory visit (saving you £110 - price for non-members).

More information about one to one advisory visits

For an informal chat about what an advisory visit involves, call Amy on 01539 822 622, or book a visit by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Low Carbon Tourism

Businesses in the UK waste on average 10-20% of the energy they buy, so we set about working with Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency to help tourism businesses save money and energy. The best way to calculate savings is to look at your current energy use. The next step is to look at where this energy is going, and then identify opportunities, and finally to calculate savings.

Together we found many ways to save energy and money; from drought proofing doors, to switching to LED lights, to installing recycling points. It was also great to hear about the many things that businesses are already doing. Some of my favourite ideas include refilling glass water bottles, installing light sensors, and fitting insulating curtains.

bigstockphoto Save Water 4744016-238x300

Businsesses need to sell quality experiences and sustainability is the perfect tool to create them - Marketing helpsheet for businesses

It's great that businesses are doing their bit to help the environment but sometimes you need to get your guests to join in to - Communicating sustainability to your guests

Case study on how to reduce costs in your business - Oak Bank House


Nurture Tourism

Welcome to Nurture Tourism

We specialise in developing sustainable tourism, growing destinations and businesses. our clients span local destinations, national tourist boards and global corporations.

We have a strong track record in developing fundraising schemes and the visitor economy in the United Kingdom.

  • Simply put, Visitor Payback (VP) is a small donation made by a tourist or visitor to a local environmental conservation project via a tourism business they use.
  • The donations can be collected in a number of ways, which are covered in the "How it Works" section, and twice a year the money raised gets sent to the project, or projects, the business has chosen to support.


  • Visitor Payback is a great way of "putting something back". In Cumbria and the Lake District, approximately 15 million people per year walk on the fells, drive on the roads, and use the facilities during their holiday.




Sustainable Tourism Forum

Making the sustainable attainable, together.

Sustainable tourism has long been hot on the agenda within Cumbria. With the area relying on its breathtaking landscapes and its rich cultural heritage, there has always been a need to preserve these in order to maintain a healthy visitor economy. The local tourism boards and authority have strategies for it, charities have campaigns for it, and business owners have a passion for it.

Nurture Lakeland hosts a regular Sustainable Tourism Forum to bring all of these individuals together. The forum enables members to share ideas, learn about new initiatives and celebrate successes.

Members of the Forum bring together public transport bodies, business owners, landscape conservationists, academics, transport advisors, campaigners, local authority representatives and environmentalists. The group has been made up of some key conservation players and powerful drivers from the County Council, National Park Authority and Cumbria Tourism. Together this group can use their knowledge, experience, networks and expertise to work in partnership and put sustainable tourism in action.

Current members of the Sustainable Tourism Forum include:

  • Alistair Kirkbride (LDNP, CCC, Sustainable Travel Advisor)
  • Sophie Cade (Nurture Lakeland)
  • Becky Willis (Sustainable Development Consultant, LDNP)
  • Bob Cartwright (Lake DistrictNational Park)
  • Jo Guiver (UCLAN)
  • John Barwise (CGBF)
  • Judith Moore (Friends of the Lake District)
  • Nick Lancaster (Langdale Estates)
  • Nigel Wilkenson (Windermere Lake Cruises)
  • Richard Greenwood (Cumbria Tourism)
  • Jessica Goodfellow (Eden Tourism)

If you are a tourism professional with an interest in responsible and sustainable tourism in Cumbria and are interested in joining our Forum, please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to enquire about getting involved. 


Save water

Water is a precious resource and despite the rainy weather, water in the UK is not as abundant as you may think. According to Water Wise, some parts of the UK have fewer water resources than countries with hot climates such as Syria!

Over use causes shortages and these affect us all; we must remember how seriously shortages can harm our environment. Wildlife relies on fresh water for feeding and breeding and struggles to survive when water sources dry up.

How your business can save water

  • Check for dripping taps
  • Low flow or aerator fitted taps
  • Individual flush urinals
  • Encourage shower use by not having baths in rooms
  • Install a “hippo” device into toilets
  • Maintain toilets  
  • Wash on full loads 

faucet_aeratorShower and Tap Outputs

By changing the showerheads or installing aerators to taps you can restrict the output of water significantly. You are not just saving water, but also reducing costs, lowering heating fuel usage and therefore lowering greenhouse gas emissions. 


Toilet “hippos” are dropped into the toilet cistern and save on average 3 litres of water per flush. Hippos can be bought cheaply and will pay for themselves within several weeks.

Toilets are a key area to check for leakages. A leaking toilet can waste a huge amount of water. Ask cleaning staff to check for leaks and inform management or maintenance staff for speedy repairs. 

bamboo_towels_300Towel & Linen

Implementing a towel and linen reusing system for guests can cut back on laundry frequency. You can significantly reduce the amount of water used. You will also save money on laundry cleaners, the amount of energy you use AND restrict the amount of chemicals entering your drains. 

Setting up a towel and linen policy is easy. Promote to your guests that you are trying to reduce the hotel’s environmental impact by only washing towels and bed linen when needed. Even as a 5 star accommodation provider, you can invite guests to participate in an agreement and still achieve quality service for your guests.

Washing on Full Loads

Particularly in the hospitality industry, it is tempting to turn on the washing machine or dishwasher when it is not on a full load. But it’s really important we only use them on full loads. It will save you copious amounts of water, energy, money and products.

try-some-phosphate-free_productsLove your Lakes – wash with care

Within the Lake District, water quality of the lakes is a key environmental issue. Laundry and general cleaning products have a direct impact upon the phosphate levels of our lakes and rivers. High phosphate levels are very damaging for the environment and aquatic life. By choosing to use phosphate free cleaning products and detergents in your business, and taking into consideration what you are putting down your drains, you can help keep our lakes stay clean and healthy.

For more information about phosphates and how you can do your bit, view our latest Love your Lakes campaign.





The main attractions of the Lake District are its natural landscape and diversity of wildlife. It is therefore in the interests of all tourism industry stakeholders that these are protected and preserved.

Local conservation projects rely on public giving. As a business you can encourage visitor donations and promote awareness of causes.

dufton ghyll wood wFundraising for Conservation

Visitor payback schemes, through fundraising initiatives such as “opt out”, are a great way to raise crucial money for local projects. By adding a small amount to your customers’ bill, visitors can support conservation within the area they have enjoyed visiting, offsetting any (often indirect) damage they have caused during their stay.

Nurture Lakeland has a history of success with business fundraising. As well as “opt out” schemes, businesses can offer donation envelopes, donation boxes or sponsored products as alternative methods to raise money. More about fundraising methods

save our squirrels 4 wAwareness of the issues

Businesses should be aware of the current environmental issues affecting the area in which they operate. By either helping to fund or just promoting these, your business can have a positive impact on local conservation.

Local Conservation and your Business

  • Support a local conservation or heritage project (find a project)
  • Provide information on local nature reserves
  • Provide nature tours and guided walks
  • Host a talk for the public or your guests given by NL staff about the work we do. (Contact us to arrange something)
  • Be aware of local wildlife attractions and natural habitats etc
  • If you have a garden – plant native trees, develop a wildlife walk, install bird boxes or provide interpretation boards and informative literature

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