§ Lord Fearn
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What help is being given to local authorities to further green tourism in Merseyside. [HL1126]
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
Tourism is a discretionary service for local authorities and is not directly funded by central government.
Councils awarded beacon status for "Promoting Sustainable Tourism" will be announced on 6 April 2004. Tourism destinations across England will potentially benefit from the subsequent dissemination of examples of best practice.
The Destination Management Handbook, published in March 2003, jointly by the English Tourism Council (funded by DCMS) and the Tourism Management Institute, guides tourism destination managers on a sustainable approach.
In April 2003 DCMS gave strategic responsibility for tourism in the north-west to the North West Development Agency (NWDA).
The NWDA's sub-regional tourism partner is the Mersey Partnership, which works with six local authorities to develop and market tourism. Green initiatives include the development of a green tourism website, the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park initiative, and a regional pilot of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, a means of rewarding tourism businesses who follow environmentally-friendly policies.
In July 2003 NWDA and English Nature published a study that identified regional projects to benefit the economy, the natural environment, and quality of life. The study's 39 proposals included nine eco-tourism projects in Merseyside. A steering group, chaired by English Nature, is currently working to refine the outline proposals and to consider how best to take them forward.