Tourism businesses in the Lake District are stepping up their efforts to protect their economy and environment through a new visitor car-free scheme.
The 'Fresh Air Is Free
’ project is an initiative of the new Sustainable Tourism Forum
(STF), which brings together Lake District tourism businesses
with conservation charities and public sector organisations to find ways to tackle climate change and promote sustainability.
Initially targeting 50 accommodation providers in the tourist hubs of Ambleside, Keswick, Bowness-on-Windermere and Coniston, the Fresh Air Is Free scheme aims to encourage the eight million people a year who visit the Lake District to consider alternatives to using their cars. It is part of a wider effort to reduce the region’s tourism
carbon footprint and enhance the visitor experience.
"If we want people to consider giving up their cars when they visit we have to provide practical and persuasive alternatives," said Amy McLoughlin, project coordinator at Nurture Lakeland, which is leading the STF. How the scheme will work
Funded by the Lake District National Park (LDNP) and managed by Nurture Lakeland, the Fresh Air is Free campaign will provide accommodation businesses with car free resources, including itineraries, maps, discounts and incentives
with businesses for guests going car-free.
"We’re providing accommodation owners with materials to publicise local attractions, walks, activities and some realistic alternatives to the car for guests who want to travel further afield," said McLoughlin.
Some hotels will be adopting a 'Hang up your car keys’ campaign, offering excursion discounts and attraction discounts for member handing over their car keys.
Nurture Lakeland will also help them to develop online tools to promote the Fresh Air is Free campaign via their websites.Travel findings
Visitors to the Lake District now drive on average 50 miles per day during their stay. Cumbria County Council and LDNP have identified a sustainable transport
system that gives people the option to travel in low carbon ways an urgent priority.
A recent Visit England survey revealed people are receptive to the idea of exploring alternatives to driving, with 49 per cent of respondents saying they would be more likely to use public transport if it was easier to find out about. The same numbers stated that while on holiday at a destination, they would prefer not to use the car and rely on public transport.
Nurture Lakeland says accommodation providers are best placed to deliver information and provide resources for guests.
"They have a vested interest in the environment, in carbon reduction, congestion reduction and could be the most effective way of disseminating information to guests and providing sensible alternatives to car travel," said McLoughlin.
Sustainable Tourism Forum
The Sustainable Tourism Forum has been launched to deliver a coordinated green tourism strategy for the Lake District. The Forum brings together public transport bodies, business owners, landscape conservationists, academics, transport advisors, campaigners, local authority representatives, environmentalists and includes the Cumbria Green Business Forum, a business to business network where members share environmental best practice.
The Forum is currently looking at other ways to promote low carbon transport in the Lake District. It is holding a meeting in November where local tourism businesses are invited to discuss issues surrounding transport and sustainability, including public transport, congestion and carbon emissions
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