Led by Devon County Council, the project named BCHT (Bio-Cultural Heritage Tourism) will develop a new sustainable model of tourism that will aim to reduce the negative impact of high tourist numbers on the local environment and quality of life of people living near tourist hotspots.
The project will work with four Unesco Biosphere Reserves in France and the UK including the Marais Audomarois, the Iles et Mer d'Iroise, the Brighton and Lewes Downs and North Devon. These areas are seen as being particularly vulnerable to the pressure of high visitor numbers.
Working with the biosphere reserves, BCHT will monitor tourist numbers and visitor flows, and identify opportunities to encourage visitors away from over-visited attractions, to areas within the biosphere reserve that have capacity for new visitors.
BCHT will also look at how how the concept of “bio-cultural heritage” can be applied to biosphere reserves, working with local tourism businesses to create a range of products and activities based on this concept. These activities will be assessed to measure how much they ease pressure on other tourist hotspots.