‘The development of genuine partnership working has been both exciting and productive in terms of delivering action based outcomes’ – Gary Evans, Hawk Associates & Partnership Chair.
For National Parks, tourism can only be a partnership project. In the Brecon Beacons, there is a formal Partnership with 44 members from 32 organisations, led by the National Park Authority. They come from public, private and voluntary sectors with interests in economy, environment and community. Key to success has been the involvement of Brecon Beacons Tourism which represents 260 local businesses.
The Partnership has evolved over 10 years and now has 5 sub-groups dealing with Visitor Transport, Training for Business, Marketing, Geopark and Dark Skies.
The Partnership is the framework around which key tourism projects are organized.
• Most prominent have been the NPA’s COLLABOR8 and Rural Alliances projects, funded by the EU’s Interreg IVB NWE programme. They have supported firstly 15 clusters of tourism businesses and secondly their combination with community interests together with funding for action on the ground.
• The Visitor Transport group oversees a £125,000pa project promoting the use of public transport and running Beacons Bus.
• Marketing is a major issue and the Partnership now boasts a Destination Website, an emerging new brand and coordinated work to achieve PR for the destination.
• There are 25 training courses each year and an Annual Tourism Conference. Training includes National Park Ambassadors and Green Business Management linked to the internationally recognized Green Tourism Business Scheme.
• Geopark & Dark Skies both generate more interest from more visitors and support the less affluent west of the Park.
Added Value of the National Park
The National Park Authority has a tourism team of 6 with a budget of £800,000, 75% of which is externally sourced. This has allowed it to bring the partnership together and generate shared solutions.
There is no doubt that tourism is fundamental to the Park’s economy. By working together, partners have been able to take on the challenges of tourism development within the context of a Protected Landscape. Only by working together, can we more effectively protect and conserve the area’s special qualities and encourage enjoyment and understanding whilst also contributing to socio-economic development.