Covid has impacted on all our lives. We look forward to better days ahead and a safer-healthier future. Cancelled holidays and various freedom of movement restrictions have hit people personally, and have had a devastating impact on our tourism businesses.

Cumbria is experienced at fighting back after major damaging events to peoples’ lives and the environment, be it Foot and Mouth Disease or widespread storm flooding. We know about the value of Dark Skies tourism(1) and Cumbria Tourism has produced an excellent Dark Skies Tourism Toolkit to help businesses make the most of the beauty of the dark night skies as they try to recovery.(2)

Cumbria Tourism has also developed a Dark Skies Friendly charter and logo to recognise businesses that support dark skies tourism and who wish to be working with Cumbria Tourism to promote this growing sector(2). This links well with the events and activities to celebrate the value of dark skies and also to use dark sky friendly lighting.

A Making the Most of Dark Skies Tourism business support workshop online webinar is taking place on 26 November, with three fantastic, knowledgeable speakers:

  • Astronomer Richard Darn, who helped Northumberland become Europe’s biggest international dark sky park and worked on the launch of Kielder Observatory.
  • Neill Sanders is an enthusiastic astronomer with a keen interest in outreach, to help encourage public interest in astronomy.
  • Mark Holroyd is Head of Recreation and Communications for Forestry England in the North of England, covering the Kielder Forest Observatory.

Many tourism businesses are making sure their external lighting is sensitive to the environment and not adding to light pollution. Over the coming months we will be highlighting good examples of businesses with dark sky friendly lighting. Tourism businesses Awards help to promote this, including The David Bellamy Award.(3) Reducing the intensity and switching lights off when not needed also helps cut energy bills and boosts the dark skies offer for guests, so it’s a winner for profitability.

 

(1). https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/importance-of-dark-skies-to-tourism

(2). https://www.cumbriatourism.org/who-we-are/resource-hub/recovery-hub/recovery-campaign/dark-skies-friendly-cumbria/ 

(3) http://www.bellamyparks.co.uk/index.html