South West’s protected landscapes receive tourism award

 In National Landscape updates

The protected landscapes of the South West have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to tourism by being awarded the “outstanding contribution to tourism” accolade at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

More than 450 people from the tourism sector in the South West attended the gala evening, held at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay. Victoria Graham of BBC Spotlight hosted the event.

The South West’s Protected Landscapes consists of 13 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), of which Blackdown Hills AONB is one, two National Parks, The South West Coast Paths, the Jurassic Coast a World Heritage Site, the Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site and the UNESCO Global Geopark and Biosphere Reserve. None of these charge an entry fee, yet they remain one of the primary reasons why visitors choose the region as a destination, contributing significantly to the visitor economy.

The South West Tourism Award recognises the ever-present volunteers and key staff that manage the assets of some of the regions most beautiful countryside under the constant pressures of having to retain funding to give visitors the best possible experience.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that parts of the country’s natural capital, including Protected Landscapes such as those in the South West, contributed £16bn to the economy in 2015, with an estimated contribution of £761bn forecast over the next 100 years.

Tim Youngs, manager at Blackdown Hills AONB, said
“I am delighted that the protected landscapes of the South West have been recognised in this way. It is testament to the good work farmers, businesses, landowners, organisations and individuals do to support the region’s culture, heritage and natural capital of the area – the reason so many people choose to visit the South West.”

The full list of Outstanding Contribution to Tourism winners included:
Blackdown Hills AONB, Cornwall AONB, Cotswolds AONB, Cranborne Chase AONB, Dartmoor National Park, Dorset AONB, East Devon AONB, English Riviera UNESCO Geopark and South West Coast Path, Exmoor National Park, Isles of Scilly AONB, Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Mendip Hills AONB, North Devon AONB, North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, North Wessex Downs AONB, Quantock Hills AONB, South Devon ANOB, Tamar Valley AONB, The Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

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