Northumberland’s the cream at the top of the milk

TOURISM businesses from across north Northumberland gathered at the area’s first Sustainable Tourism conference this week.

The event, which took place in Berwick on Tuesday and Wednesday, was organised by the North Northumberland Tourism Association, with support from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) partnership and the Northumberland National Park Authority.

Manda Brookman, director of the Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Network, explained the ethos behind the successful Cornwall network and chaired a series of short presentations from experts on topics that affect tourism businesses, including reducing waste and energy bills, walking, local food and seasonal produce, landscape, communication, marketing and finance.

Explaining what sustainable tourism was all about, she said: “It’s about making the most of the fact that you and I live in the most jaw-dropping landscapes.

“Our job is to help ensure tourism everywhere contributes to a resilient present – and future.”

She explained the key elements of the Cornish model, which include providing information and making sure that it is shared among businesses and by businesses, as an introduction to the day before a wide of range of speakers dealt with different issues.

Opening the event, Lord Joicey, president of the North Northumberland Tourism Association, reminded those present of the importance of tourism to the Northumberland economy.

As an industry it makes up 11.7 per cent of the county’s economy, three per cent higher than the national average, and supports 10,700 full-time jobs and a further 2,200 indirect jobs.

Comparing Northumberland with Cornwall, he joked: “You have to view England, and just England mind, as a milk bottle – the cream is at the top!”

Just before the event started, Manda said that she was ‘delighted’ to be there, particularly returning to the north where she is from originally.

“There are similarities between Cornwall and Northumberland and there’s a lot of things we can share,” she said.

“It’s about collaboration, and I’m quite looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say.”

l For more on the Sustainable Tourism conference and the example set by Cornwall, see this month’s Northumberland Now.