Sustainable tourism

by on Mar.07, 2012, under Sustainable Tourism

What is sustainable tourism?  That’s a question we’ve pondered a lot since forming NEWT.

Discussions before, during and after the first Northumberland Sustainable Tourism Conference yesterday, jointly organised by the Northumberland Coast AONB, the Northumberland National Park and the North Northumberland Tourism Association, revealed that there isn’t really a concensus.  For some businesses it means following the mantra of ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’, for others it means sourcing everything locally (where possible…).  We’re in favour of those approaches, and our GOLD award from GTBS shows that we put them into practice.  For other business, including NEWT, sustainable tourism means more than this though, so perhaps a definition of sustainable might help?  There are many, but they can be summed up as ‘able to endure’.  Whatever one generation does shouldn’t compromise the ability of future generations to do the same.  The micro level of sustainability spread across lots of businesses minimises environmental impact, but will that be enough to sustain Northumberland’s tourism industry for generations to come?  It probably won’t, but it will be a very stable base for sustainability.  Some joined-up thinking is needed and there has probably never been a better time for control of the destiny of tourism in our beautiful county to be taken by the tourism businesses who actually understand the industry, the market and, perhaps most important of all, what Northumberland is all about.

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