RTD 14 Plymouth. Loved to Death?

This is the initial announcement – check back for updates and enrolment at the end of June.

To register your interest email rtd14@responsibletourismpartnership.org

Loved to Death?

Protected Areas and Tourism

It is a quarter of a century since the EUROPARC Federation published Loving them to death? in 1993. The report was a siren call for the dangers posed to wildlife and habitat in Europe’s national parks and protected areas. The challenges were great then, they are larger now.

The Peak District National Park attracted 22 million tourist days way back in 1996. The number of visitors and the range of activities – some of them high impact – grows every year. There were a reported 94 million visits to National Parks in England in 2017.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has just launched a review of how access to National Parks and AONBs can be improved, how those who live and work in them can be better supported, and the role of protected areas in growing the rural economy. The focus of the review is on how designated areas can boost wildlife, support the recovery of natural habitats and connect more people with nature.


This small research-oriented conference is designed to bring together those involved in managing tourism in national parks and protected areas, conservationists, tourism businesses, guides and researchers to discuss the management and conservation challenges and the research needs.

The academic organising committee includes Professor John Swarbrooke, Emeritus Professor Harold Goodwin and Professor Iain Stewart, MBE FGS FRSE is a Scottish geologist, a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. At Plymouth University he is Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute. The Institute brings researchers together with businesses, community groups and individuals to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges.

Members of the Institute will be participating in the conference and there will be many opportunities to discuss with them the challenges faced in managing protected areas and tourism. Plymouth is an ideal location for this conference looking at the challenges in both marine and terrestrial protected areas.

The challenges addressed reflect the interests of those who attend with to pitch ideas about research needs and to establish partnerships for research and management to avoid loving our protected areas to death.

If there is an issue you would like the conference to address please email us. harold@haroldgoodwin.info

  • Overtourism – how do we manage visitor impacts on landscapes, habitats and species and cope with the demand being experienced in natural areas.
  • Plastics in the ocean and on beaches, the role of tourism in the broadest sense and the research informed campaigns that have originated in the South West.
  • Managing habitat for wildlife and biodiversity
  • Community involvement and the role of tourism in protected areas in sustainable development
  • Geoparks balancing conservation and tourism.
  • The cruise sector and water-based tourism.
  • Methodologies for measuring the economic value of protected areas.

We have designed the programme to keep the cost as low as possible. Those items marked with ǂ are not included in the conference fee. Delegates will be able to book their own accommodation ǂ from recommendations from Plymouth University.


Sunday 16th September
Participants gather for drinks and food in a venue in the Barbican.ǂ

Monday 17th September

Opening session – the sustainability challenges and the research needs. An opportunity to pitch for research, “speed dating” for those wanting research done to meet with researchers and vice versa.

Sandwich lunch

Visit Dartmoor National Park

There are plenty of challenges:

  • 25 year environment plan – impacts and requirements from this
  • Erosion – causes, monitoring and repairing
  • Recreation Strategy
  • Managing large scale events
  • Ranger Code – Love Moor Life
  • Outdoor engagement and dogs

Guided by the access and recreation team, visitor services and rangers responsible for the ranger code and erosion.

Evening meal and networking opportunity


Tuesday 18th September

Visit to the Tamar Estuary Marine Conservation Area

Conference session continue reflecting the interests of those who attend.

Who should attend?

National Parks and AONB staff, Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust, ecologists, researchers and conservationists.

Organising Committee

To follow

Confirmed Speakers

To follow


The Loving them to Death? report launched a partnership and exchange programme which lasted until 1998 and in 2000 they published the Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas