Rural businesses across Lancashire celebrated winning a raft of green tourism awards in recognition of their efforts to make tourism more sustainable via the Eco Escapes responsible tourism initiative.
Eco Escapes is designed to build momentum behind a new model of less carbon intensive tourism in sensitive rural environments such as the Forest of Bowland and Arnside and Silverdale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Seven businesses were presented with their official Green Tourism awards at a Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism ‘Summit’, which took place at the award-winning Holmes Mill, in Clitheroe.
As part of its commitment to the Eco Escapes sustainable tourism initiative, the Forest of Bowland AONB also undertook Green Tourism accreditation, and received a Silver Award.
Green Tourism Award Winners
Dale House Barn and B&B
Bowland Wild Boar Park
NaturesGems Wildlife Tours
The Forest of Bowland AONB
Little Oakhurst Glamping
Cobden View Holiday Cottage
The Garden Cottage
Patty’s Barn and The Rewilding
Dominique Ashford, proprietor of Dale House Barn, who received a Gold Award at the event, said:
“We were proud to achieve Gold status because we feel so strongly about sustainability. The self-audit process made us examine our own practices critically, which was ultimately very rewarding and showed how much we’ve achieved since buying the Barn in 2014.
“We’ve invested in technology like solar panels, an electric car charging point, and a biomass boiler. Our ethos informs everything we do; we strive to use seasonal, local produce and live closer to nature in a simpler, more sustainable way. Gaining the Green Tourism Gold accreditation is a good way to prove that we are as green as we say we are.”
Forest of Bowland AONB Sustainable Tourism Officer Hetty Byrne said:
“Eco Escapes is a campaign to promote sustainable tourism across Lancashire. It encourages visitors to enjoy the Forest of Bowland and Arnside and Silverdale AONBs while ‘treading carefully’ on the landscape and using car-free travel where possible. In particular, it highlights visitor destinations which support sustainable tourism.
“Working with Green Tourism – an internationally respected accreditation scheme – businesses can have their sustainability efforts independently assessed, giving them a competitive edge with eco-minded visitors. It’s a way of setting apart those businesses that actively embrace and invest in green practices.”
Sustainable or ‘slow’ tourism is moving up the travel agenda and many of Lancashire’s outstanding natural environments can be reached by train and explored on foot, by bike – or increasingly – by e-bike.
According to one of the keynote speakers at the Summit, Vicky Smith from Earth Changers:
- 76% of UK population are ‘very concerned’ about sustainable issues (95% are very/fairly concerned).
- 78% of global travellers intend to stay in a sustainable property at least once in the coming year. (According to Booking.com Sustainable Travel Report 2022).
- 55% of global travellers are looking for ‘off-grid’ vacations to escape reality, switch off and experience life.
Launched last summer with funding from Lancashire County Council, the Eco Escapes campaign promotes a more sustainable approach to rural tourism by encouraging visitors to use public transport and explore Lancashire’s protected landscapes on foot, by bike, e-bike or all-terrain mobility scooter.
Eco Escapes encourages visitors to arrive by train and explore Lancashire’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty on foot, by bike or on e-bike. The Eco Escapes website: www.ecoescapes.org.uk provides car-free sustainable travel plans which link main stations and visitor attractions and highlight visitor destinations which support sustainable tourism. The Green Tourism award winners completed their accreditation as part of the Eco Escapes initiative.
With expert speakers from across the North of England and further afield and panel discussions and workshops, the Sustainable Tourism ‘Summit’ explored the drivers of sustainable tourism and what it means for the rural visitor economy.
Delegates from across the county explored the benefits of adopting a more sustainable to tourism and the importance of celebrating local distinctiveness to encourage visitors to support independent businesses in the rural economy.
3rd April 2023