A new outdoor charter promoting sustainable recreation activities in Guernsey hopes to appeal to eco-savvy tourists.
The Outdoor Charter Group brings together conservation organisations and outdoor adventure activity providers in an effort to reduce their environmental impact and showcase Guernsey as destination that promotes sustainability.
The Charter will cover all areas where organised outdoor recreational activities are carried out, including inshore waters, bays, intertidal areas and specified areas of cliffs.
‘We have an amazing and beautiful island with some fantastic wildlife, but we need to ensure that recreational activities don’t destroy the very thing we are trying to showcase,’ said Outdoor Charter Group and co-chair John Richardson, who runs JP’s Jetski Seafaris.
‘I think people are more aware of the negative impact that tourism can have on places nowadays. Partly, this is because of high profile places like Phi-Phi Le or Komodo being closed to tourists because of the detrimental impact those visitors were having, and it’s partly because we are all becoming aware of the damage we as humans are having on the planet.
‘Personally, I see a lot of tourists who are genuinely interested in the well being of wildlife and are asking questions about changes to our environment.’
As well as promoting eco-awareness, the new charter aims to develop best practice, offer training and education for charter group members, and act as a voice for outdoor activity providers.
A number of local businesses have already signed up, from divers to coasteering providers, as well as representatives from local parishes, Guernsey’s Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services, and conservation groups including La Societe Guernesiase.
‘Some of Guernsey’s most important wildlife is found on its coastlines, all of which are designated as Sites of Special Significance or Areas of Biodiversity Importance under the Island Development Plan. Recreation in these areas has increased significantly in the last 20 years and it is increasingly important that we work together to ensure that the impacts of such activities are minimized and sustainable,’ said Jamie Hooper of La Societe Guernesiase.
‘The creation of the Outdoor Charter Group provides a mechanism for providers to work with NGOs such as La Societe Guernesiaise so that we can continue to enjoy some of the wilder parts of the island without impacting the biodiversity of the cliffs, beaches and offshore islets.’
A similar charter group was established in Pembrokeshire, Wales, in 2002 and has proved successful. It now has 450 members and represents over 40 outdoor adventure businesses.
To become a member of the Guernsey Outdoor Charter Group or if you would like further information, contact Emily Atkinson on email@example.com.