The Lake District has become the World’s 31st World Heritage Site, joining the likes of the Grand Canyon, Tower of London and Great Wall of China. The decision, which was announced by Poland-based Unesco on Twitter, has been described as momentous as the national park has been actively seeking to obtain the ‘World Heritage Site’ status since 1986. It is expected that tourism for the hospitality and leisure industry will be boosted as a result though conscious efforts are being made to monitor the impact of tourist visits and further enforce conservation efforts in the area, a decision that has been welcomed by many since the announcement was made.
The site has received consistent praise for its creative inspiration to the likes of poets, writers, artists and contribution to culture, literature, arts and landscape – all of which contributed towards and are reflected in its new found status. In addition to the people that call the lake district their home, we already welcome over 18 million visitors per year who create a spend of £1.2 billion, providing 18,000 jobs within the local, pulsating farming and archeologic communities. The decision is hoped to inspire and elevate the genuine desire of national and international tourists to visit, creating a sustainable visiting scheme. Carlisle Lake District Airport have already considered taking full advantage of the national park’s new found popularity by launching commercial passenger flights from as soon as Summer, 2018. Plans to create links to London Southend, Belfast and Dublin are currently under discussion which will in turn boost revenue for the tourism, hospitality and leisure industry whilst providing huge benefits to the economy and local population of residents, families and businesses.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, whose Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency is based within South Cumbria welcomed the decision and said: “This is fantastic news for our area, and for the local tourist economy. This well deserved status is a formal recognition of the outstanding natural beauty of the Lake District, and will help to further promote our area as the UK’s leading rural tourist destination.”
However; he is also keen to ensure that this decision to encourage tourism doesn’t ruin the natural beauty and landscapes of the park or quality of living for local families and strongly supports the new monitoring and conservation efforts that have been suggested. He continued: “However, it is vital that the Lake District remains a viable place for local people to live. The Lake District must be a place where local people can afford to live, raise a family and find work, so that rural communities can thrive. This decision is about protecting and promoting the natural and cultural heritage of our area, and must not be used as an excuse to freeze in aspic our vibrant rural communities.”
What are your thoughts on the decision to award the Lake District the National Heritage status? Do you believe local residents will reap the benefits of the additional tourism or do you think the commercialisation is going to ruin this stunning landscape? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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