Themed around the concept of working together, the conference brought together over 60 representatives from tourism businesses, local authorities, regional agencies, and community groups to discuss how to develop tourism sustainably whilst attracting more visitors to the area.
The COLLABOR8 programme is aimed at supporting groups of small tourism businesses working together to improve the tourism offer in their area of interest. Whilst it is not a grant scheme, it has money for partnership projects between the NPA and those groups.
The conference heard from Andrew Gray of Era 21, who is coordinating the COLLABOR8 transnational partnership, and Richard Tyler, Sustainable Tourism Manager for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority on how the programme will work and how sustainability will be woven into it.
The keynote speaker for the conference was Manda Brookman Director of COAST, the Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project. Cornwall has a similar mix of natural and built heritage, a strong local culture and a similar commitment to the environment as the Brecon Beacons. “We have much to gain from learning from each other and developing joint programmes of work” she said.
Richard Tyler, Sustainable Tourism Manager for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said: “This conference was the perfect opportunity to engage our local businesses with the COLLABOR8 programme and to discuss how it can work best for them. Experience elsewhere has shown that the best way of addressing difficult economic circumstances is for local businesses to work together”.
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s Acting Chief Executive John Cook welcomed the conference as an opportunity to develop a ‘sense of place’ with the new Brecon Beacons Ambassador Scheme. “This innovative programme will enable businesses to provide an even better service to their customers by giving them the information on different aspects of the National Park and why it is so special”.
Cllr William Powell, one of the National Park Authority’s Tourism Champions and Vice Chairman of Tourism Partnership Mid-Wales said: “Manda Brookman the key note speaker showed how effective it can be when businesses work together. Our local businesses and tourism organisations are already working in a similar way but we can hope use funding from COLLABOR8 to match the Cornish experience.”
If you are interested in finding out more about the COLLABOR8 project please contact the COLLABOR8 project officer Nick Stewart by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01874 624437
Picture credits: Brecon Beacons National Park Authority
Guest speakers from left to right – Richard Tyler, Sustainable Tourism Manager (BBNPA), John Cook, Acting Chief Executive (BBNPA), Andrew Gray, Era 21 (COLLABOR8) and Manda Brookman, Director of Coast (Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project).