What is sustainable tourism?

According to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, sustainable tourism is all about maximising the social, economic, cultural heritage and environmental benefits of tourism AND minimising the negative impact. In other words, doing more good and less bad!

From staff and supply chains, to inclusivity, accessibility and carbon reduction, sustainable tourism encompasses all areas of Cumbria’s visitor economy.

The pandemic has highlighted people’s desire to access green spaces/landscapes for the benefit of our health and wellbeing. As an industry, our challenge is how we modify our business practices and behaviours to mitigate the potentially negative effects too. It’s about all playing our part to protect our tourism product and safeguarding the resources which attracted visitors to the Lake District, Cumbria in the first place!

This toolkit, part of the Low Carbon Lake District 2 Project which is funded by the UK European Structural and Investment Fund Programme; has been designed to help you understand more about more sustainable working practices – not only to reduce your impact, but also to cut your costs and even develop new unique selling points.

But don’t just take it from us! We have a range of real-life examples, expert advice and networking opportunities for you to chat with businesses who are already on this journey….

Tourism and Net Zero

Whilst sustainable tourism is about more than achieving Net Zero, reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the planet is a vital element of sustainable tourism for Cumbria.

With a relatively high proportion of carbon emissions in the Lake District, Cumbria attributed to visitors, our industry can sometimes have a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ in carbon terms. (While resident emissions account for 51% of the total, visitors travelling to and from Cumbria make up 36% of the total footprint, and 13% come from visitors travelling within the county). However, that’s only half the story as Cumbria’s tourism sector has the potential to be a vital part of the solution.

There is definitely a journey and for some of us it could seem quite daunting, but the good news is lots of businesses and partners are already a long way along and so there is lots of best practice to share.

Evidence also suggests that people are more likely to try something new during their leisure time, so as an industry, we are uniquely placed to influence visitor opinions and behaviour long after the holiday is over.

Our supply chains are another great partner to work with and create some of the solutions and opportunities.


This toolkit is part of the Low Carbon Lake District 2 Project which is funded by the UK European Structural and Investment Fund Programme. Find out more here.


For further information

Contact Reception on
01539 822222 or info@cumbriatourism.org