I spent three days in Cornwall this week with CoaST Cornwall Sustainable Tourism. I have been wanting to visit CoaST for several years, their success has been extraordinary. This is a group of over 1000 members, tourism businesses and those in the supply chain. By collaborating together they have clout. They don?t duck the big issues of global warming and peak oil; they have not put their heads in the sand. They have worked to equip their 30 Ambassadors and 1000 members to argue the case for sustainability and to take practical steps to make the changes necessary to make Cornwall, in the words of the Cape Town Declaration, “a better place to live in and a better place to visit.”
I was invited to speak at the 6th Birthday Event ? a day of briefing and discussions about the big issues and what can be done about them in Cornwall ? this is an organisation which has clout in Cornwall and much further afield ? join their One Planet Tourism network. It was an honour to be there and to be part of the celebrations as members girded their loins to continue the battle to make tourism, and Cornwall, more sustainable. CoaST is an organisation with big ideas and achievements to match.
I was able to spend time with CoaST staff; the ICRT will be working more closely with them, and with some of their businesses. I stayed at St Michael’s Hotel and Spa in Falmouth (GTBS Silver) and the Bedruthan Steps Hotel(GTBS Gold) where Suzie Newham, one of our ICRT students, is Sustainability Manager. The Bedruthan Steps is retro engineered for sustainability, their new sister hotel the Scarlet is designed with sustainability in its DNA ? it will be a leader.
Michael Smith is the Managing Director of the Venus Company (GTBS Gold) which runs five sustainable beach cafes in Cornwall and Devon. They were worthy winners of the 2005 First Choice Responsible Tourism Award for the Best in a Marine Environment Category ? the award was well deserved ? it is the detail which makes the difference, local sourcing, sustainable packaging, thinking hard about how the business operates and levying 5 pence on each cup of tea and flake sold for the Wildlife Trusts in Devon and Cornwall.
I travelled to Cornwall and back on the overnight sleeper, the ?Night Riviera?. Sadly there were not many people using the sleeper service, it is comfortable and smooth ? the cabins are stylish and spacious with a wash basin and tv, and freshly laundered sheets. Much less hassle, and far more enjoyable, than flying. Regrettably the service gets little promotion by First Great Western who operate it or by sustainable tourism businesses in Cornwall. The service was re-launched with a ?2 million refurbishment in June 2008 but unless tourism businesses in Cornwall promote the service it will be lost.
Britain by Rail promote the service. Predictably Mark Smith, the Man in Seat Sixty-One and winner of the Responsible Tourism Award for the best individual contribution in 2006 has the best information on the Night Riviera link ,including the links from the sleeper to a range of destinations off the main line. VisitCornwall link to Mark's site.I had a solo sleeper for ?49 each way ? book in advance. You can go to sleep in London and wake in Cornwall ? the world looks a much better place from there.
We have much to learn form CoaST. Join their network.