2 July 2013: VisitEngland the national tourist board and National Parks England have committed to a three-year partnership designed to boost rural tourism and stimulate sustainable economic growth in England's countryside.
The English National Parks are a crucial part of England's visitor economy. They are national treasures for their wildlife, iconic landscapes and cultural heritage. For millions of people they offer fantastic opportunities to experience the natural environment, contributing to the economy and quality of life in England. Tourism is one of the main economic drivers of rural economies and the English National Parks alone contribute to between £4.1bn - £6.3bn to the economy.
The partnership statement outlines a number of areas that VisitEngland and National Parks England will work on together. These include promoting National Parks to inspire more visitors; encouraging greater collaboration between National Park Authorities; and Destination Organisations at the local level; and sharing intelligence and collaborating on research programmes.
The National Parks provide many excellent examples of sustainable approaches to tourism which ensure that they are protected and can be enjoyed and visited for generations to come. This partnership will also ensure that examples of sustainable growth (otherwise called 'wise growth') are captured and shared with the wider industry.
Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: 'Our National Parks are among the most treasured places in the country and I am delighted that VisitEngland and National Parks England have come together to promote them. Visitors will experience some of England's best landscapes and local businesses will benefit, helping to boost the rural economy.'
VisitEngland Chairman Lady Cobham said: "Visitors to national parks spend at least £4bn contributing about one third of the spend from rural tourism in England. They are part of the fabric of our rural tourism offering and sustain thousands of businesses which in turn employ 140,000 people. This partnership agreement outlines a number of important ways we can work together to ensure tourism works hand-in-hand with our natural assets to further boost rural tourism and ensure sustainable economic growth."
Chair of National Parks England John Dyke said: "England's National Parks are known for being superb landscapes, rich in heritage and wildlife, but they are also valuable generators of wealth and economic activity. The Love Your National Parks celebration is a great opportunity to highlight how we can protect the environment, support the economy; and people have fun into the bargain. The launch of this Partnership Statement with VisitEngland aims to boost sustainable tourism, enabling more people to enjoy these wonderful places and all they have to offer."
National Parks England exists to support policy and practice by coordinating the views of the ten English National Park Authorities (NPAs). It does this by:
From 29 July to 4 August. This year's National Parks Week will be a celebration of all the wonderful activities that people can take part in our beautiful landscapes - and our mission is to encourage everyone to make these spaces 'Actively Yours'. See full details at: http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/visiting/2013nationalparksweek.htm