Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism is tourism that takes account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing, and seeking to balance, the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities. Making tourism more sustainable means taking these needs and impacts more fully into account in the planning, development and operation of tourism. It is a continual process.

Sustainable tourism, is, therefore, about promoting and attracting visitors to an area, and encouraging them to experience and enjoy the place, whilst not spoiling it for other visitors or local people. Sustainable tourism is at an appropriate scale, encouraging quiet enjoyment, and re investing in the economy and communities which support the landscape.

What is happening with sustainable tourism locally?

In 2005 the Forest of Bowland National Landscape became the first protected area in England to be awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas, and this honour was repeated when the Charter was re-awarded in September 2010. 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.  Although we haven't re-applied for the award in 2015, going forward the National Landscape and partners will continue to follow the principles of the Charter and the National Landscape Management Plan provides a long-term framework for delivering sustainable tourism in the area.Green Tourism logo

Since 2005 the Forest of Bowland National Landscape Unit has developed a programme of activity and works closely with tourism organisations, businesses and communities. Work has included supporting businesses to develop sustainable activities; working with communities to celebrate their special and distinctive qualities; developing new walking, cycling and horse riding opportunities; developing materials to promote local businesses and communities; and training for tourism staff and businesses.

Many businesses have developed their own green practices with several achieving a Green Tourism Award.  For further information visit our Eco Escapes project: 

In Spring 2023 we ran a Sustainable Tourism Symposium to share good practice with colleagues and partners in other protected landscapes, local authorities and tourism businesses as well as with our own business network.  It was a fantastic event and you can view the keynote presentations and a summary of the day here: 

Sustainable Tourism Network

Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism LogoBowland Experience Limited was established in 2006 as a network that supports like-minded businesses to develop and promote the sustainable tourism opportunities within the Forest of Bowland.   

Its aims are:
•        To work collaboratively to ensure businesses in the area deliver social, economic and environmental benefit, while at the same time enhancing visitor experiences
•        To enable related businesses across the National Landscape to connect and share ideas and good practice
•        To provide opportunities to develop and promote sustainable experiences, activities and products for visitors linked with the Forest of Bowland National Landscape brand

Produced in November 2017 for the Forest of Bowland National Landscape Annual Sustainable Tourism Forum.  The video below is a celebration of the work of the Bowland Experience network over the last 12 years.
To become a member please contact

Tourism Business Resources - follow this link to find a series of resources for tourism businesses and to find out further information about the Sustainable Tourism Network