A member of HM Coastguard. The county's visitors have been praised for their behaviour this summer

County's summer visitors praised

Visitors to Northumberland over the summer have been wholeheartedly thanked by the council and partners for respecting the county's natural landscapes and tourist attractions during the summer months.

The previous two years saw a large increase in the number of visitors to Northumberland and ahead of the surge last year the council organised a visitor management campaign ‘Love It Like It’s Yours’.

The aim was to welcome visitors while educating them on issues such as littering, illegal parking, irresponsible camping, and wildfires.

The campaign, supported by a range of partner organisations, ran again this year and groups have noticed a drop in reported issues over the course of this summer.

Councillor John Riddle, Northumberland County Council Cabinet Member, responsible for Local Services, said: “We are thrilled that people enjoying our wonderful coastline and countryside have been even more respectful this year.

“Obviously the pandemic resulted in record numbers of visitors to our region and with that came a number of problems caused by a minority of visitors including litter, wildlife being disturbed and farmers finding their gates blocked due to irresponsible parking.

“We created the Love it Like It’s Yours campaign in an attempt to welcome visitors but also educate them on the Countryside Code. It’s amazing to see the results and we are so happy that local businesses and residents backed it. Reports from all of our partners from Visit Northumberland to Northumberland National Park to Forestry UK have been incredibly positive.”

Alex MacLennan, Forestry England, Recreation Public Affair Manager for Northumberland commented: “Working in collaboration with partners across the county, we feel the campaign to Love Northumberland Like It’s Yours is an important message to visitors and also supports the rural communities we all work and live in and want to protect.

“We want to take the opportunity to thank locals and visitors who got behind the campaign… it has certainly worked!

“Even though we were hit badly with Storm Arwen and endured a heatwave, incidents such as littering have been few and far between and we’ve noticed a marked improvement in general behaviour - especially in Kielder Forest and Water Park.”

Tony Gates, Chief Executive at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “Working in collaboration with our partners on this campaign, we have been able to mitigate some of the pressures around visitor management, ensuring those who visit feel welcome to do so,
and those who live and work in the National Park feel able to continue the important roles they have, helping to make Northumberland National Park the beautiful and tranquil place we all know and love.

“This has been a real team effort from all partners and I’d like to highlight the incredible work of staff and volunteers, without whom people’s visit to the county wouldn’t be nearly as well informed or enjoyable – they are the role models for ‘Love It Like It’s Yours’ and I hope people continue to be inspired to care for their surroundings, wherever they choose to go.”

Andrew Fox, Chair of Visit Northumberland, added: “We are so proud of the campaign and are overjoyed that it seems to have worked. Even looking at the Visit Northumberland web stats, we know that people were taking our advice of planning ahead - especially when it came to checking tide times at Holy Island.

“We absolutely love our stunning county and are proud of how immaculate it is and long may it keep its natural beauty and charm.”
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