How can we achieve sustainable tourism growth? Is “Wise Growth” possible?

sustainable manchester

The question of whether sustainable tourism growth is possible and what it will take is on the agenda in Manchester at the beginning of April at the upcoming RTD8 conference. VisitEngland’s Vision for WiseGrowth is to “grow tourism responsibly in a finite world, creating resilience and prosperity for all, balancing the growth aspirations of the Strategic Framework with the principles of sustainability.” In Manchester the conference will be reviewing case studies of WiseGrowth in Country Durham, Manchester the New Forest and Newquay. The discussion will be interesting.

The conference takes place in Manchester,a city that had placed a priority on becoming sustainable. Ontheplatform reveals how much is going on in Great Manchester to make the city region more sustainable through the arts, events and happenings, education, the low carbon hub, cycling, public transport and the Environmental Business Pledge.

manchester a certain future sustainable growth tourismManchester a Certain Future is an ambitious plan for a radically changed, low-carbon future where large-scale emissions of carbon dioxide have become a thing of the past. There are a significant number of hotels that are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme or which have signed up to the Environmental Business Pledge. Manchester United achieved ISO 201221 in July 2012, and in January 2013, Manchester Central became one of the first major conference and events venues in the UK to achieve ISO 20121 Event Sustainability. Greater Manchester is also home to the Hotel Future project in Oldham, an exciting new training hotel being run as a business – Stephen Miles will be talking about it at RTD8.

Manchester has good rail connections and an excellent public transport network – Virgin and Transport for Greater Manchester will be speaking at the conference and exploring the city on foot is easy. One of the key challenges for sustainability in cities is to change the way businesses do their business and the behaviour of tourists. How to encourage them to arrive by public transport, to use public transport around the city and to enjoy walking in it.

In the South Downs, an area without the depth and penetration of public transport available in Greater Manchester, the SDNPA has just launched a sustainable tourism and travel campaign called Discover More of the South Downs for Less designed to encourage visitors to ditch the car and get out to enjoy the longer, lighter days, thirteen popular visitor attractions including National Trust and RSPB are working with the National Park Authority to offer 2-for-1 entrance fees for public transport users.

This is part of their “Discover Another Way” behaviour change campaign, being run jointly with the New Forest National Park Authority, encouraging visitors to swap the car in favour of other modes of transport in the National Park. Alongside improved public transport services and infrastructure development such as new cycle paths, by 2015 the campaigns aim to switch 370,000 car journeys to bus, train, cycling and walking instead, which equates to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Imagine a campaign like that run in a city……


The Growth of Responsible Tourism Must Include As Many as Possible

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Harold is Professor of Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he teaches and researches in the Centre for Responsible Tourism. Harold researches on tourism, local economic development and poverty reduction, conservation and responsible tourism and teaches Masters and PhD students. as well as the industry, local communities, governments, and conservationists. Harold also undertakes consultancy and evaluations for companies, NGOs, governments, and international organisations. He is also a Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism which he founded in 2002 and which promotes the principles of the Cape Town Declaration.

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