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The North Pennines – a slow tourism destination?

Davina Stanford

The theme for the 2020 North Pennines Tourism Forum is ‘slow tourism’. In mid-March businesses from across Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham will be coming together to explore whether this approach ‘fits’ with what the area has to offer visitors.

The annual event will be held in Melmerby Village Hall, Cumbria on Wednesday 18 March and is open to any business working in the visitor economy in or around the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark.

Slow tourism is all about taking time to enjoy more. It is about being concerned about the environment and immersing yourself in a destination. Above all it is about a quality experience and not about trying to fit in as much as possible.

The keynote speaker at the event is Davina Stanford – Course Director for the Responsible Tourism Management MSc at Leeds Beckett University. She will be exploring the concept of slow tourism, drawing on her extensive experience working as a tourism consultant, and how it can be applied to emerging rural destinations, such as the North Pennines. There will also be presentations from Visit County Durham, Eden Tourism and the North Pennines AONB Partnership.

Delegates will have an opportunity to put their own questions to a ‘slow tourism Q&A panel’ – providing an opportunity to debate and discuss what the concept of ‘slow’ could bring to developing and marketing the North Pennines as a responsible tourism destination.

Businesses will also hear about the recently approved £3.4m Fellfoot Forward Landscape Partnership Scheme, funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Fiona Knox (North Pennines AONB Partnership) and Sally Hemsley (Eden Tourism) will outline how the project will embrace slow tourism on the Eastern Fellside and the opportunities to get involved.

Shane Harris, Responsible Tourism Lead for the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “It’s an exciting time to be involved in tourism in the AONB. Our new Fellfoot Forward project is just starting on the Cumbrian Eastern Fellside, we’re developing a new multi-day walking trail, the North Pennines Stargazing Festival is going from strength to strength, and the area has a lot to offer visitors looking for deeper connections, authentic experiences and quality over quantity. Exploring the concept of ‘slow tourism’ and how the approach might complement the area’s character and tourism offer should be a thought-provoking topic at this year’s Tourism Forum.”

Wednesday 18 March 2020: 10am to 2.45pm (arrival, registration, tea/coffee from 9.30am)

Melmerby Village Hall, £10 (includes lunch and refreshments). Booking is essential (via Ticketsource): https://www.northpennines.org.uk/event/north-pennines-tourism-forum-2020/

This event is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme.

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