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Minister signs Sustainable Tourism Accord.

richardbenyon_1404964i1Richard Benyon MP Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries  joined James Beresford, Chief Executive, VisitEngland and Philip Hygate, Chairman, National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) in signing a Sustainable Tourism Accord between VisitEngland, Defra and the NAAONB.

The Minister signed this important Accord at Landscapes for Life Conference 2013 where delegates are gathering from all over the country to discuss the part that the AONB Family has in ensuring that our water systems are well managed and our environment is safeguarded for future generations.

During his visit to Conference 2013, the Minister explained that the origin of the Accord whose full title is “Towards Sustainable Tourism in England’s AONBs” was in the Autumn 2011 Rural Economy Growth Review. Because of the breadth of AONB tourism work reported in the Review, Defra had pledged to support development of sustainable tourism in England’s 34 AONBs.

Richard Benyon MP said,
“I feel very strongly about protecting our countryside and boosting the rural economy. I want to see more visitors and tourists enjoying our beautiful countryside in a way that doesn’t pose a threat to the environment. This agreement shows how passionate we are about making this happen.”

NAAONB Chairman, Philip Hygate said,
“The Accord provides opportunities for greater collaboration between the AONB Family and VisitEngland. It is important that AONBs are acknowledged as being at the centre of the development of Sustainable Rural Tourism. We look forward to seeing local AONB partnerships and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) working closely together to develop the initiatives being run in our AONBs”.

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Beresford, added,
“AONBs make up some of England’s most beautiful landscapes. This Accord importantly recognises the economic value that tourism can bring to these valuable natural assets. Tourism working in close partnership with the AONBs on a local and national level will benefit the rural visitor economies of this country whilst supporting the sustainability of our beautiful countryside”.

The signing of the Accord launched three days of presentations, discussion and  networking in the East of England where site visits to local AONBs – Dedham Vale, Norfolk Coast and Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONBs – and the Broads will look at the links between water and natural beauty and set out the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Philip Hygate, NAAONB Chairman said, “We are delighted to bring delegates to the East of England. We look forward to lively debate and discussion which will result in useful practical action throughout the UK’s AONBs. I am sure that delegates will leave the conference with the knowledge that the AONB Family is working hard to protect our most valuable resource which is why AONBs remain Landscapes for Life”.

For further information on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty visit www.landscapesforlife.org.uk