NATURE tourism could dramatically boost visitor figures and bring millions of pounds into Bridlington.
According to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, research shows current visitor spending by East Riding visitors who come specifically to see the countryside and local wildlife could rise from £9.5 million to £28.5 million a year over the next five to 10 years.
Martin Batt, the trust’s Nature Tourism Manager, said Bridlington, the Flamborough Headland and surrounding areas are key to its success.
Together with Steve Race, Community Education and Outreach Officer for the RSPB Centre at Bempton, he will be hoping to convince local tourism-based businesses at a meeting at Sewerby Hall on Thursday March 17 to share in the nature tourism boom.
Mr Batt said: “There has already been investment by the trust and the RSPB, which hopes to make its Bempton reserve a national seabird centre, and by Yorkshire Water, but the project needs people in the private sector to get involved.
“That means high-quality serviced accomodation, local food producers and fisheries and others who can take part in joint promotions and who in return will be publicised on a new website and maps and guides for the whole area, which will also incorporate links to the new cycle way network and Wolds walks.”
His area stretches from Filey down to Spurn point and takes in most of the Wolds including villages like Burton Fleming, Kilham, Rudston, Boynton and more.
It includes several nature reserves, but Flamborough, with its headland, RSPB reserve and its coastal inter-tidal area and undersea life, is unique.
Mr Batt said: “We are already starting to benefit from TV programmes which are alerting people to the wildlife in Britain.
“Surprisingly there are many people not only elsewhere but living in places like Leeds who have no idea what we have here.”
The development of a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Living Sea Centre at Flamborough South landing on the site of the former Boathouse Cafe – which was destroyed by an arson attack in July 2009 – is part of its nature tourism project.
Work on the learning and interpretation centre, which is currently going through the planning process, could start in the autumn.
It will focus on the Headlands coastline and what lies beneath the sea.
“Many people just look out and see the grey sea without knowing anything about the dozens of species which live in this site of special interest,” said Mr Batt.
The Living Sea Centre has already received a £25,000 grant split equally between Defra and European funding.
The meeting of invited local enterprises will be held at the Orangery at Sewerby Hall on Thursday, March 17 between 10.45am and 12.30pm.
Any business in the tourism industry, including food or specialist local producers wanting to attend should contact the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at their head office in York on 01904 659570 or email Martin Batt at email@example.com.