Forest of Bowland AONB to host FREE Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism Summit

28 February 2023

The Forest of Bowland AONB is hosting a FREE symposium next month for anyone working in tourism, travel or place-based marketing. They will share learnings from their Eco Escapes sustainable tourism campaign and the audience will hear from a panel of experts on how travel and tourism can become more sustainable and inclusive.

Lancashire’s protected landscapes joined forces to promote sustainable tourism in the county’s rural areas in 2022 via the Eco Escapes campaign. Eco Escapes is designed to build momentum behind a new model of less carbon intensive tourism in sensitive rural environments.

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.

Hosted by Caz Graham from BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme, the Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism Summit takes place at the award-winning Holmes Mill in Clitheroe on Tuesday, March 21st.

Sustainable or ‘slow’ tourism is moving up the travel agenda and the good news is that many of Lancashire’s outstanding natural environments can be reached by train and explored on foot, by bike – or increasingly – by e-bike.

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: provides car-free sustainable travel plans which link main stations and visitor attractions and highlight visitor destinations which support sustainable tourism.

The Eco Escapes website is a rich resource for visitors who want to tread lightly, reduce their environmental impact and support local independent businesses.

With expert speakers from across the North of England and further afield and panel discussions and workshops, the symposium will explore the drivers of sustainable tourism and what it means for the rural visitor economy.

It will look at the benefits of adopting a more sustainable approach for businesses and the importance of embracing diversity and engaging new audiences who are receptive to environmentally conscious tourism.

Delegates will take a deep dive into the importance of celebrating local distinctiveness to encourage visitors to support independent businesses in the rural economy and the Eco Escapes team will share their learnings on the pivotal role of building a rural business network to underpin a rich sense of place and increase awareness and engagement.

Speakers will also explore the potential of public transport, walking, cycling and wheeling to broaden access to rural areas among under-represented groups.

Green Tourism will be presenting awards to the businesses who have successfully completed green Tourism accreditation as part of the Eco Escapes scheme.

For delegates who like to get hands on, the programme will also include opportunities to sample selected Eco Escapes experiences on foot, by e-bike or at the end of a fork on one of the increasingly popular foodie tours.


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