An Action Plan for how sustainable tourism will continue to be supported in the Cairngorms National Park has been endorsed by the Board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).
This new Strategy for 2011 – 2015 will form the basis of an application for the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas to the EUROPARC Federation later this month. In 2005, the Cairngorms National Park became the first UK National Park to be awarded this Charter for the period 2005-2010.
The CNPA’s Sustainable Economy Manager, Chris Bremner, said: “We have a distinctive mix of economic activity in the Park but it is tourism that dominates. It is important that tourism development is managed and supported in a way that recognises and takes account of the needs of local communities and the environment as well as local businesses. The Strategy provides a useful framework to bring together all those with an interest in tourism, not just for debate and discussion but also to help guide practical action on the ground.”
A number of objectives have been identified in the Strategy including:
- Growth in the value of tourism generated and retained in the Park.
- The needs of customers to be understood and addressed.
- Enabling people to experience the special qualities of the National Park.
- Recognition and promotion of geographical diversity.
- Minimising negative environmental impact and supporting enhancement.
The Strategy has been developed through the Cairngorms Sustainable Tourism Forum (CSTF) which was set up in May 2010 to bring together those with an interest in and responsibility for implementing the principles of the European Charter. One of the key members – the Cairngorms Business Partnership – is also leading the way in drafting a new marketing strategy for the Park.
Alan Rankin, Chief Executive of the Cairngorms Business Partnership (CBP) said: “The balancing act between green and growth is a very fine one, but one that we as organizations working within the Cairngorms National Park need to get right. The Charter acts as a guide to ensure that this balancing act does not become biased to one issue over another. It allows us to continue to recognize that the Cairngorms National Park is a special place with a range of geographical diversity that needs to be cared for now so that we can continue to enjoy it well into the future, as well as acknowledging the value in tourism growth and the needs of the visitors that come here every year. The development of the Sustainable Tourism Strategy has been aligned with developing a new marketing strategy for the Cairngorms National Park by the CBP and we are confident that through this work green and growth issues can work together to enhance all areas of the UK’s largest National Park.”
Earlier this month, National Geographic magazine named the Cairngorms National Park as one of the top 20 places in the world to visit in 2011.
CNPA Board member and Chair of the CSTF, Jaci Douglas, said: ” Whether it’s for the beautiful scenery, for the wildlife, to take part in adventure sports or just soak up some Scottish hospitality, the Cairngorms National Park is increasingly standing out as one of the best places to visit. This Strategy will help us develop the services available to visitors and enhance their experience, whilst ensuring that this special place is cared for.”