Every year the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty welcomes over 23 million visitors, attracted by the wide ranging special qualities of natural beauty, attractions, cultural heritage and recreational opportunities.

It is estimated that tourism in the Cotswolds generates around £1 billion into the economy every year (source: Cotswolds Tourism).

The benefits from tourism include:

* helping to maintain and create jobs;
* sustain local services and facilities;
* stimulate enterprise and support investment in environmental management.

It is clear that tourism plays a major role in sustaining the local economy and communities of the Cotswolds.  However tourism has an environmental and social impact.  Issues such as erosion, congestion, litter, careless use of the countryside and pollution can lead to problems. This is why we all need to strive to make our use of the AONB more sustainable; if not the very qualities that make the Cotswolds special today could be lost tomorrow.

Sustainable tourism has become widely recognised as a strategic goal which aims to improve tourism for the benefit of all – both now and in the future.

European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas

In September 2011, the Cotswolds AONB was awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas.  The Charter is awarded to protected areas that are delivering tourism that is both nature and landscape friendly and which contributes to the economic development of the region. The Charter approach ensures that organisations, local people and businesses are working together to protect the area, whilst at the same time increasing opportunities for visitors to discover and enjoy its special qualities.

* Visit the Europarc website for further information www.europarc.org
* or the Charter website at www.european-charter.org

Since 2009, the Cotswolds has been working with tourism authorities, businesses, local communities and other organisations to develop and deliver a five year Sustainable Tourism Strategy and Action Plan.  The strategy builds on the Cotswolds's international profile as a visitor destination and includes actions on how we can work with businesses to develop activities that promote sustainable tourism. 

The full strategy can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:

Download the Cotswolds AONB Sustainable Tourism Strategy & Action Plan (8MB)

For further details, please contact:
Nicola Greaves, Information & Interpretation Officer,
Cotswolds Conservation Board
Tel: 01451 862003
Email: nicola.greaves@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk