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18.11.05
A Sustainable Future for Cornwall's Tourism

With Cornwall attracting more than 5 million visitors each year, now more than ever is the need to promote the economic, social and environmental advantages of working in a more sustainable way.

Most businesses are aware of the environmental aspects of sustainability since the global effects of mis- or over-using the earth's natural resources are hard to ignore. But the concept of sustainability goes much further, underlining the interdependence of the environment with economy and society. It is therefore undeniable that for those currently working in, or preparing for employment in, Cornwall's tourism industry, sustainability issues are increasingly recognised as important to take on board.

Tourism businesses and association members, along with travel and tourism students from Cornwall College were given an insight into why sustainable development is so important to Cornwall's tourism sector at a series of events held recently to launch an exciting Sustainable Tourism Programme offered by the Tourism Skills Network. With investment from Objective One, the programme, in partnership with CoaST (Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project) and Cornwall College, aims to develop a practical approach to implementing sustainability in Cornwall's tourism sector via appropriate training and is currently offering heavily subsidised courses in sustainable development, to small and medium tourism enterprises throughout Cornwall.

Events took place at Newquay Zoo, winner of the Cornwall Tourist Board Sustainable Tourism Award 2004, Bedruthan Steps Hotel, and Looe Bay Holiday Park, who won the award for their category last year at the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Sustainability Awards.

Each event aimed to increase the sustainability awareness of those attending, with delegates being able to see and hear first hand how sustainable principles can be put into practice, what the costs are (although as they were soon to realise, it is more about saving than spending!), and the benefits of doing so. All three venues proved themselves to be excellent examples of tourism enterprises which place sustainability at the heart of their organisation.

Bedruthan Steps Hotel, the first hotel in Cornwall to be listed as a user of the 'Greener Events' guide, (a short practical guide to reduce the environmental impacts of conferences and seminars launched by the Government Office for the South West), has recently opened a new energy-efficient conference centre as well as introducing a range of measures throughout the hotel to reduce its energy output and recycle waste.

Emma Stratton, co-owner of the Bedruthan Steps Hotel, said: "Sustainable tourism doesn't just make sense for the environment and the local economy. It makes sense for our business, for our customers and our long term profits. We can already see how Bedruthan can benefit, now and in the future."

Delegates at all three events were also able to hear from a range of speakers, all of whom are ambassador businesses of CoaST, who further enforced how sustainable development can be put into practice so successfully throughout a number of different tourism enterprises. Guest speakers included, Valerie Penny of Pollaughan Farm Cottages, Sandy Pulfry of The Hen House, Matthew Trevaskis of Ecodrive, Stephen Chidgey of Eden Gate Apartments, Jill Lucas of Mount Pleasant B&B and Margaret Jordan of Eden B&B.

Lisa Wallis, Sustainable Tourism project officer for the Tourism Skills Network, said: "This project provides exciting prospects for tourism businesses in Cornwall. Many have come to realise that sustainability holds the key to securing their long term future and those already putting sustainable principles into practice are indeed reaping the benefits. By initiating sustainable tourism activities, businesses can benefit from: cutting costs; contributing to the local economy; investing in the future; good publicity; a reduction in running costs; plus opportunities for gaining extra business as visitors become more environmentally aware! Through the delivery of appropriate, accessible training, businesses can enforce sustainability throughout their workforce and further enhance the quality and profitability of our unique tourism industry."

For further information please contact Lisa Wallis at the Tourism Skills Network on 01209 718425 or email: lisa.wallis@tiscali.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project (CoaST) through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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