Letter to the editors...
I originally wrote this as a 'Dear Editors' letter for the Westmorland Gazette in response to the article 'The opportunity Is There For The Taking' printed on the 28th of November. The article was essentially about sustainable tourism so naturally we had a nurturing viewpoint to reply with.....
Nurture Lakeland promotes responsible tourism, minimising the negative impacts of tourism whilst maximising the positive opportunities tourism creates for local people AND local environments.
I disagree that Cumbria 'can't cope with such an influx of visitors' because, as Richard Greenwood of Cumbria Tourism points out, Cumbria is a big place and outside of the honey pots there are relatively undiscovered places providing the perfect opportunity for growth and for the rest of the county to benefit from tourism spend. We have been working extensively in the Eden Valley (via Nurture Eden) and by promoting and exploring its hidden gems have contributed to a 2% increase in visitors to the area. Similarly, work carried out by The Morecambe Bay Partnership is also set to bring into focus areas of Cumbria which until recently have been excluded from the traditional tourism offer. People (and tourists) vote with their feet and if a busy Ambleside isn't their cup of tea it won't take long for them to discover an equally charming part of Cumbria to enjoy.
Additionally, the growth of tourists represents an opportunity for more visitors to donate to local conservation projects via Nurture Lakeland's Visitor Giving which to date has raised £2 million pounds from tourists via dedicated local businesses to help fund projects such as Fix the Fells, Red Squirrels and many more.
Regarding the boat comment, I believe that the 17,000 boats on Windermere are not necessarily a negative impact of tourism. Windermere Reflections have worked extensively with boat owners who, predominantly, are very considerate patrons of the lake they enjoy. Love Your Lakes tackles the main pollutants of the Lake which is actually local people and businesses that use phosphate dishwashing tablets, a pollutant causing more damage than a sailing boat could ever muster.
There are many actions businesses can take to help minimise the impacts of visitors to this area from engaging in the 'Drive Less See More' campaign to reducing their energy footprint via backhouse management decisions, businesses are able to help mitigate negative impacts for the benefit of local residents, the local economy and the wider environment alike.
Nurture Lakeland members enjoy access to range of business support and advice which enables the Lake District as a destination to 'cope with' and thrive as a result of tourism. We are hosting three drop-in sessions next week;
- 11th December Ambleside at Zefirellis (10.30am - 4pm)
- 12th December Coniston at Blue Bird Café (10.30am - 4pm)
- 13th December Keswick at The Moot Hall (10.30am - 4pm)
We will be sharing information with businesses to help them save money via energy reduction, benefit from green accreditation and market sustainability to create business advantages. We will welcome all, with coffee and mince pies and the information to promote responsible tourism for the benefit of this destination.
If you prefer a more social affair (where the main topic will again be responsible tourism) your welcome to join us on a Nurture Windermere Cruise leaving Ambleside at 1pm on Tuesday 17th of December, contact info@nurturelakeland to book your tickets and discover why Cumbria is ready to welcome growth as a result of sustainable priorities throughout the tourism industry.