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European Charter for Cornwall

The Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (making up over a quarter of the County) has formally been awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism by the Europarc Federation.

Europarc is the voice of Europe's protected areas with over 400 members in 36 countries, who themselves manage the 'green jewels' of Europe's land, sea, mountains, forests, rivers and cultural heritage. The aim of the Charter is to increase awareness of and support for Europe's protected areas and to improve the sustainable development and management of tourism within them.

The Europarc Award to the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was obtained thanks to the efforts of the small team at the Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project (CoaST) and the Sustainable Tourism Working Group (including the National Trust, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall AONB Unit) who worked with businesses large and small across the county to drive forward the message that green tourism brings business as well as environmental benefits. Working together they developed a best practice approach that directly led to the achievement of this prestigious award.

At a recent Partnership meeting on the Lizard, the Charter was officially presented to Chairman Peter Mansfield by Dan Bloomfield of Europarc Atlantic Isles.

The Partnership heard from VisitLizard tourism association chair-person Sandy Pulfrey who also runs The Hen House B & B near Manaccan: "The Charter will have a triple benefit for our business," she said. "There will be an increase in European visitors, more shoulder and winter season holidaymakers who are in search of pristine countryside and peace and quiet and also those who have a particular interest in the environment and the beauty of our protected landscape and who want to take an active role in conserving it for the future."

Practical
The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism is a practical management tool which helps protected areas to continuously improve the sustainable development and the management of tourism while taking account of the needs of the environment, the local population and local tourism businesses. The core element of the Charter is working in partnership with all relevant stakeholders to develop a common sustainable tourism strategy and an action plan on the basis of thorough situation analysis. The aim of all Charter projects and activities is the protection of the natural and cultural heritage and the continuous improvement of tourism in the protected area in terms of the environment, local population and businesses as well as visitors.

Working in partnership
Since the first seven protected areas signed the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas in 2001, the European Charter Network has grown significantly. The European Charter Network now counts 78 protected areas from eight European countries involving over 100 local tourism businesses as Charter partners, local and regional government authorities, NGOs and many more.

Many more Charter Candidate protected areas are currently engaged in the Charter process and likely to hand in their application documents for evaluation this year.
Networking, sharing experience and knowledge is one of the main aims of the Charter. This includes regular Charter network meetings, exchange and study visits.

Linking biodiversity & tourism: Good practice in Charter protected areas
The European Charter has been successfully implemented for ten years and has led to an incredible range of well-structured activity. The new Europarc brochure 'Joining Forces', which was produced in the framework of the European CharterNet project features 24 case studies of how protected areas have developed and implemented sustainable tourism.

There are currently 10 Charter areas in the United Kingdom/Northern Ireland:
Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Cairngorms National Park
Broads National Park
Brecon Beacons National Park
Exmoor National Park
Yorkshire Dales National Park
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is made up of 12 separate geographical areas and covers approximately 27% of the County - an area of 958 sq km (370 sq miles). It is one of 47 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK which, along with National Parks, represent the most outstanding examples of countryside landscape. The Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was designated in 1959 under the National Parks Act (with the Camel Estuary section being added in 1983). It received enhanced status under the Countryside and rights of Way (CROW) Act in 2000.

For more information: www.european-charter.org
www.cornwall-aonb.gov.uk

Contact:
Peter Maxted, Communication Officer, Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 01872 322350