Published on 23 February 2022
Archived on 23 March 2022
A tourism chief is hoping to establish South Warwickshire as a green tourism destination, as well as promoting 'Access for All'.
Green Tourism, post-pandemic business support and 'Access for all' were the central themes of Shakespeare's England's first in-person Tourism Forum for members in 2022 at Warwick Racecourse.
Helen Peters, CEO of the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for South Warwickshire, and her team are looking to support attractions and businesses in making the next steps to becoming not only more sustainable but providing better access for all tourists with an impairment.
She said: "We will be hosting a webinar run by Green Tourism on March 9 who will be going through some of the steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint; we will be working with you to produce a green credential audit of the area and on how we can collectively bring our region closer to becoming a green destination.
"Next month as part of English Tourism Week, March 17 - 27, our theme will be recycling."
Taking tips from other 'green' destinations across the UK, these steps could range from producing a local food map, to eco facts about an attraction to fitting recycled nylon carpets - as has the Friends' Meeting House in Manchester - and water-saving overhead Hansgrohe shower heads.
A range of new 'green' initiatives were highlighted by speakers including the trialling of 10 E-Cargo Bikes for businesses by Stratford-on-Avon District Council, the launch of eco-friendly bags and eco-cups by Rugby Borough Council to coincide with Global Recycling Day on March 18; and Stratford Town Trust's forward-thinking community grant scheme looking to support local climate change projects in 2022.
Graham Folkes-Skinner, Sustainable Transport Project Officer for Warwick District Council, said: "Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick District Council are working together on three ambitions to address the climate emergency. They include a Net Zero Carbon Council by 2025 and Low Carbon South Warwickshire by 2030.
"Forty per cent of CO2 emissions in South Warwickshire are transport related. Stratford District Council was successful in obtaining a grant from the Energy Saving Trust for five E-Cargo Bikes and five E-Cargo Trikes, working in collaboration with Pashley's Cycles in Stratford-upon-Avon. This was match-funded by Stratford District Council.
"Local business within the town can hire these electrically assisted cycles free for three months to see how it can help their business to be more sustainable. Benefits include zero emissions, lower running costs and reduced congestion. As part of the loan a business will have maintenance and repairs covered and some initial mandatory training before use.
"The business will have the opportunity to advertise their business on the bikes but will need to be kept in a safe lock-up overnight."
Peter Monks, the director of Shakespeare's Distillery in Stratford-upon-Avon, showcased some of the steps his company is making in becoming a carbon neutral distillery including a 'carbon footprint assessment', the use of solar energy and modern energy efficient equipment, plus the removal plastic in packaging. It also runs a popular gin and rum bottle refill recycling scheme.
He said: "You can all see on the back of bottles the words 'Drink Responsibly' - we wonder when that will change to 'Drink Eco-responsibly'?"
Following a successful council funding bid, Shakespeare's England is embarking on 'a green credential audit' surveying members across Warwickshire on areas including vegan and vegetarian dining options, support for local supply chains and sustainable venues as well as green initiatives in place at attractions and venues with the aim of creating analytics to share.
VisitEngland's Head of Business Support Ross Calladine, who is the Government's Disability and Access Ambassador for Tourism, was joined by Stratford-upon-Avon disability rights and Access for All campaigner Elizabeth Dixon and Kelly Collie, who works with the award-winning Coventry and Warwickshire charity Grapevine, in discussing valuable action regional attractions and hospitality businesses can take to providing a better experience for tourists with a disability or impairment - and gain a loyal following.
Shakespeare's England is also working on Project Warwickshire offering free post-pandemic tourism, leisure and hospitality business support.
The next Tourism Forum will take place at Coventry Building Society Arena on April 26 with a focus on the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and how tourist attractions and hospitality businesses can best prepare.
For further information about Shakespeare's England and its members visit the website at www.shakespeares-england.co.uk
Any businesses in Stratford-on-Avon District looking for a free trial of the E-Cargo bikes can visit www.stratford.gov.uk/ecargobikes, call 01789 267575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575