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RTD 14 Plymouth. Loved to Death?

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 are 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.

Conference Report  by Andreas Walmsley of the University of Plymouth
Reports from Working Groups
Angie Greenham Marketing Communications & Art/Culture
Angie Greenham National Parks
RTD14 Agenda

C. Michael Hall Biodiversity, Recreation and Tourism: A one-night stand or something more?
Jennifer Phillips: Challenges, opportunities and areas of best practice in delivering responsible tourism in island destinations: A case study of the Isles of Scilly
Nick Powe Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves

Chris Packham et al published A People's Manifesto for Wildlife in the same week
"It’s time to wake up. We must rouse ourselves from this complacent stupor,
because we are presiding over an ecological apocalypse and precipitating a
mass extinction in our own backyard. But – vitally – it is not too late. There is
hope we can hold to, and there is action we can take."

This small research and management 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.

Book quickly, the conference is limited to 50 participants and accommodation in the area is filling. It is induction week at the university and parents are booking accommodation.

“Details of hotels and guest houses can be found at booking.com and visitplymouth.co.uk. Accommodation in the city centre, Barbican and Hoe areas is likely to be limited however if you broaden your search to within a 5 mile radius of the city you will find alternative hotels. Details of the Plymouth park and ride services can be found at www.plymouth.gov.uk/parkingandtravel and for City bus information and timetables please visit www.plymouthbus.co.uk, Plymouth train station is only a 5-minute taxi journey from the venue and details can be found at www.gwr.com ”

With the exception of the conference dinner on Monday 17 September, the conference is free to attend. Participants will enjoy the whole conference, two lunches, teas and coffees, the welcome reception, Gin Distillery Tour, the boat trip and the Dartmoor visit free of charge.

Please email plymouthglobal@plymouth.ac.uk to register, further information will be sent in due course

As more speakers confirm the website will be updated. If you wish to speak or display a poster please email: harold@haroldgoodwin.info

Keynote Speakers

  • Professor Iain Stewart MBE, Director, Sustainable Earth Institute, University of Plymouth
  • Professor John Swarbrooke, Associate Dean-International, Plymouth Global
  • Professor Harold Goodwin, Emeritus Professor of Responsible Tourism, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Justin Francis, Founder and Managing Director, Responsible Travel and member of Defra's advisory  Council for Sustainable Business.

 Who should attend?
National Parks and AONB staff, Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust, ecologists, researchers and conservationists.


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.

  • Building bridges between tourism researchers, the tourism industry and leading researchers in the science of sustainability
  • The focus will be on the marine environment as well as protected landscapes, townscapes and historic sites
  • Overtourism – how do we manage visitor impacts on landscapes and communities, habitats and species and cope with the demand being experienced in natural and residential areas – this builds on RTD 13 in Iceland last year.
  • The impact of tourism on the level of litter and plastics in our oceans and on land will be a major feature of the programme based partly on the expertise on this subject which exists within the University of Plymouth
  • Managing habitat for wildlife and biodiversity
  • Community involvement and the role of tourism in protected areas in sustainable development.
  • The Geopark movement will be discussed in terms of the balance between conservation and economic development
  • The impact of the cruise industry will be considered with several new case studies being presented
  • Measuring the economic impact of tourism in protected areas will also be on the agenda

Conference Programme

Sunday 16th September
Evening – Welcome Reception in the historic Barbican area on the Plymouth Waterfront

Monday 17th September

Opening session

Keynotes - details to be confirmed

Lunch – Networking and ‘speed-dating’ event with researchers from the University of Plymouth

Afternoon: Guided visit to the 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. Delegates will hear from Head of Access and Recreation, Andrew Watson; Erosion and Community Ranger, Rob Steemson and previous Visitor Services Manager, Richard Drysdale.

Evening: Gin Distillery Tour at Plymouth Gin Distillery followed by Conference Dinner at the Barbican Kitchen,

Tuesday 18th September

  • Morning: Visit to the University of Plymouth Marine Research Station followed by a guided boat trip to the Tamar Marine Conservation Area to look at the impacts of tourism and recreation
  • Lunch: Networking lunch with representatives of local conservation organisations
  • Afternoon: Keynotes - details to be confirmed
  • Evening: Free to continue the discussions

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 conference venue will be MAST House, a modern purpose-built education centre belong to the University of Plymouth.  Overlooking the beautiful and historic Barbarian area of Plymouth Harbour from which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to the USA in 1620. The venue is just a few minutes walk from the city centre. The Barbican itself has an excellent range of pubs and restaurants accessible by either ferry across the harbour or a very attractive short walk.

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

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