Could tourism be a good way to frame the development of a Devon Doughnut? Could a sector, like tourism be a “keystone lens” with which to see multiple indicators and their implications, and would it be an attractive subject for a Devon Doughnut Hack (or People’s / Citizens’ Assembly); a workshop approach to civil society exploration, rather than a paper based exercise?
Angie Greenham, Devon Doughnut Maker, shares two examples of places where local people have been consulted about tourism in the UK with positive effect, below. What other examples could we add, either inclusive of civil society or approaches that take more account of all the aspects of the Doughnut rather than a singular approach to economic growth? Who in the tourism sector needs to be part of this specific conversation (key stakeholders)?
Cornish Mining World Heritage – a UNESCO world culture site – aims for biodiversity, tourism, and social value in balance – covers 10 areas from West Penwith to West Devon, all with features of outstanding universal and covering towns, mining, moorland and coastal – landscapes which all have influences from tourism in a different way. CMWH doesn’t promote tourism as such (and they don’t own any of the sites). Their mission is to protect, conserve and promote the heritage. In Charlestown, for example, they don’t have as much signage, because local people don’t want overtourism (although they already have it in season). CMWH work with local people to develop what’s essentially a local plan. They do host interpretation at Wheal Martyn where they do have capacity without risk to the environment. Often the priorities are around rebalancing, pulling visitors away from the over-popular sites to the less popluar sites.
Some of the sites aren’t getting tourists, yet they do have the heritage, history and capacity to host them (and could benefit from tourism). Camborne and Redruth has a wealth of mining history and the infrastructure to manage visitors. The example of Heartlands – a contaminated mining site – with a Grade II listed workshop that has been decontaminated and has interpretation, has been designed around the concept of a cultural playground – with local affordable housing and parks for local residents. There’s a balance between local use and attracting tourist, it’s currently approx. 80% local usage, but not generally seen as a success because it’s so big that it never looks full – transmitting the knowledge that it’s there and can be used and pulling people away from other sites eg the National Trust Levant site which struggles with carpark rather than destination capacity, is relevant.
The Arts Council’s Great Place Scheme included the Northern Heartlands project. They ran a series of events, `Not Just Part of the Scenery’ looking at tourism through the lens of its impact on communities. The event asked:
“With more than 1.2 billion tourists worldwide, and numbers still rising, what does this mean for the people who live in our tourist destinations? Can local communities be engaged to help develop tourism strategies that actually benefit them? How will we know when they have reached breaking point if they aren’t involved in the conversation?”