A strategy that will guide the future of tourism on the Northumberland coast was unveiled at a sustainable tourism forum on Tuesday.
The event was the first of its kind organised by the Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural beauty (AONB) Partnership.
It brought together people from across the tourism industry on the coast to learn about the AONB Partnership’s draft sustainable tourism strategy and to hear some of the findings from the visitor survey undertaken during the summer.
Two speakers from tourism businesses in the Yorkshire Dales National Park shared their experiences with the audience and there was lots of opportunity for networking.
Coun John Woodman, chairman of the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, said: “The sustainable tourism forum was fantastic and the room buzzed with ideas. We need to harness this energy to help us to implement the strategy.”
Coun Woodman, member for Bamburgh on Northumberland County Council, added: “It is the unique natural and cultural heritage that we have here that brings visitors to the Northumberland coast.
“We have developed this strategy to find ways to reduce the pressure that tourism puts on these assets whilst ensuring that tourism continues to contribute to the local economy.”
Sam Isaac has been with the AONB Partnership for the last year as an intern and has led on the development of the strategy.
She said: “It was a great opportunity for tourism businesses and organisations to get together to discuss issues that really matter on the coast.
“The speakers gave insights into how becoming sustainable can save you money and make your business more attractive to visitors at little extra cost.
“The strategy document that we unveiled on Tuesday is a draft. We now want to hear the views of everyone working in tourism on the Northumberland coast, to ensure that what we have proposed in the strategy addresses the most important issues.”
Consultation on the draft Northumberland Coast AONB Sustainable Tourism Strategy is now open and will close on December 15.
The document can be found on the AONB Partnership website www.northumberlandcoastaonb.org.
Funding for work on the sustainable tourism strategy has been made available through the RuralDevelopment Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union via the Northumberland Coast and Lowlands Leader Programme.