With a strong reputation for developing first class sustainable tourism business entrepreneurs, Brecon Beacons National Park and Powys tourism businesses have taken the spotlight again, impressing Green Tourism Business Scheme assessors at this year’s evaluations with a total of twenty-two awards given for their efforts.
Supported and funded by Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s COLLABOR8 project and Glasu, the new Green Tourism Business Scheme is a national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK which has recently successfully concluded the first regional pilot scheme in Wales exclusively available to businesses in the Brecon Beacons and Powys. Previously a handful of larger chain hotels in Wales were GTBS members but that number now totals over forty, with over thirty of those businesses are located in the Brecon Beacons National Park and Powys. The Green tourism Business Scheme has since opened its doors to applications from businesses all over Wales, now that the trial period is over and they have a further 33 additional businesses interested in becoming members of the scheme.
All businesses undergo a rigorous 3-month assessment period from a GTBS Assessor and a Local Environmental Advisor contracted by the National Park Authority looking at environmental, local economic and community impacts. Advice is then provided about where each business is currently ranked in the Green Tourism Business Scheme and where they could potentially get to if they implemented a series of measure to improve their sustainability.
A total of nine businesses were awarded gold medal for 2010 including Wern Watkin Bunkhouse (Llangattock); Old Rectory Barn (Gilwern ); The Wern Horse and Rider B&B (Llanvihangel Talyllyn); Beili Helyg Guesthouse (Penderyn); Coity Bach Farm Cottages (Talybont on Usk); Trevyr Barn Luxury Holiday Cottage (Grosmont); The Old Coachhouse (Machynlleth); Rose Cottage (Knighton) and Yr Hen Stablau (Machynlleth). In addition, twelve silver medals and one bronze medal were awarded.
Owners of The Wern Horseriders’ B&B, Lucienne and Neil Bennett, said they are delighted to have won a Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold award. The business provided both breakfast and evening meals using the finest local produce and significant amounts of home grown vegetables from the couple’s extensive gardens. They have also saved costs on the day to day running by installing good insulation, purchasing A rated appliances and LED replacement of external lighting. Lucienne said: “We are delighted to achieve one of the first gold medals for Wales. As well as allowing us to quantify how well we are doing in our small efforts to help the environment, the Green Tourism Business Scheme has highlighted significant cost savings. Being ‘Green’ doesn’t cost money.”
Julian Atkins, Director of Countryside and Land Management for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said the results from this year’s assessment are an endorsement for committed local tourism businesses who strive for sustainable excellence.
“It’s exciting to see such high quality sustainable tourism operators in the Brecon Beacons National Park being recognised for their commitment to sustainability. These businesses are setting the standard in sustainable tourism and to have nine gold medals awarded in the first year of assessment shows their commitment to sustainable tourism and our protected landscape,” he said.
Green Tourism Business Scheme Director Andrea Nicholas said she was impressed by the high standard of the businesses and the organisations supporting the scheme. Andrea said: “The quality of assessment and joint partnership working involved in running the Green Tourism Business Scheme in Wales this year has been exceptional. Quality assessment is key when visitors choose an accommodation business with a Green Tourism Business Scheme endorsement. We have found the businesses in the Brecon Beacons National Park and Powys enthusiastic and committed to greening their businesses and the support they have had from the National Park Authority and Wild and Green Tourism has played a very important role in them achieving the higher grading levels on their first attempt. These businesses are excellent champions of good practise and are leading the way for other businesses wanting to join the GTBS in Wales. To have nine gold medal winners in such a small area of Wales is so impressive for our first pilot project.”
Welcoming the grading results Cliff Webb, Wild and Green Tourism Officer for Powys County Council, said: “The majority of visitors who come on holiday to Wales appreciate our unspoiled natural environment. Using a respected, independently-audited green grading scheme like the Green Tourism Business Scheme offers visitors the reassurance of an internationally-recognised green marque. So, with excellent GTBS results, visitors can now choose an enjoyable and affordable holiday in Powys knowing it won’t ‘cost the Earth’.”
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Photographs: Copyright of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority
The Wern Horseriders B&B – Lucienne and Neil Bennett in their polytunnel weeding and watering fruit and vegetables which use in their home cooking served to guests.
NOTES TO EDITORS
• Green Tourism Business Scheme
Based in Perth, Scotland, the Green Tourism Business Scheme is currently the only green certification scheme endorsed by the UK tourism body VisitBritain. It has been running since 1997 and has more than 2,000 member businesses across the UK and Ireland.
• The COLLABOR8 Project is 50% funded by the ERDF Interreg IVB North West Europe Programme. This partnership project involves nine different partners from Ireland, Wales, England, Netherlands and Belgium. It aims to actively involve clusters of small businesses in developing quality, sustainability and services that promote local ‘sense of place’. In this way each tourism cluster will be able to capitalise on the uniqueness of their regions to compete better in the EU and global markets.
Gold Medal Winners Brecon Beacons National Park (1-6) and Powys (7-9)
1. Business: Wern Watkin Bunkhouse – Contact Andrew Fryer on (01873) 812307 or 07786864885, email firstname.lastname@example.org website http://www.wern-watkin.co.uk
2. Business: The Wern Horse & Rider B&B – Contact Lucienne and Neil Bennett on 01874 658401, email email@example.com website www.bennettthewern.vispa.com
3. Business: Old Rectory Barn – Contact Grahame and Hilary Lipscombe on 01873 830244, email firstname.lastname@example.org website http://www.oldrectorybarn.co.uk/
4. Business: Beili Helyg Guesthouse – Contact Mike Lawles on 01684 813609, email email@example.com website http://www.walkingwalesholidays.co.uk/
5. Business: Coity Bach Holiday Cottages – Contact Mrs Howell on 07970 868670, email firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Business: Trevyr Barn Luxury holiday Cottage – Contact Louise on 07786 243355, email email@example.com website http://www.trevyrbarn.co.uk/
7. Business: The Old Coachhouse – Contact Sue McKillop on 01650 511 333, email firstname.lastname@example.org website www.theoldcoachhousecottage.co.uk
8. Business: Rose Cottage – Contact John and Marge Rickerby on 01597 510 028, email email@example.com website www.rosecottagedutlas.com
9. Business: Yr Hen Stablau Self Catering – Contact Nicola Ruck, email firstname.lastname@example.org website www.selfcateringcottagewales.co.uk
Silver Medal Winners Brecon Beacons National Park (1-9) and Powys (10-12)
1. Brecknock Wildlife Trust, Brecon
2. Brynhonddu Country House B&B, Abergavenny
3. Cantref Coachhouse, Brecon
4. Carno Self Catering Cottages, Brecon
5. Courtyard Cottage, Abergavenny
6. Drover Holidays, Hay on Wye
7. Llanilid Cottages, Brecon
8. Merryfields Barn, Crickhowell
9. Tyr Morwydd Environmental Study Centre, Abergavenny
10. Cwm Broadwell Farm, New Radnor
11. Owl Barn Retreat, Oswestry
12. Trallwn Forest Cottages, Abergwesyn
Bronze Medal Winner Brecon Beacons National Park
1. YHA Llwyn-y-Cleyn, Brecon