The South Downs National Park - a busy couple of years!
It is now just 6 weeks to the formation of the new South Downs National Park, the tenth to be designated in England. They are defined as large areas of spectacular landscape and it is only fitting that the South Downs have at long last been formally recognised for their beauty. Not that there was ever a question on their beauty, it was just the legislative process that took over 50 years!
In the first year from 31st March, the shadow authority will formulate key strategies and finalise policies. From April 2011 the South Downs National Park will assume full powers. Have a look under our "general links" at the new South Downs Authority website.
So what does the next couple of years mean as far as tourism is concerned? Good news I feel. The temperate climate we enjoy in the South of England is ideal to attract visitors throughout the year. When we compare the beauty of the Lakes or the Peak District which attract walkers whatever the season with far harsher weather conditions, then the South Downs has an immediate advantage. But to put our visitor numbers into perspective so far, the Seven Sisters Country Park in East Sussex already has higher visitors each year than the National Park in Northumbria. We're starting from a good base already then!
The announcement of the new park must quickly be communicated globally through the power of the internet and anything new attracts interest. It will also remind those who haven't visited for a while that it's time to return. We are also the nearest National Park to London, great news for international visitors to the capital where a week on the Downs fits easily into anyone's schedule.
Our own experiences still show that visitors are booking at shorter notice, still indicating a certain amount of uncertainty on available income and job security. Coupled with the costs of travelling overseas, holidaying in the UK remains an attractive option. A new National Park to visit can only be positive for us.
So lets look forward to 2012, Olympic year. What premium on accommodation in London? What premium on accommodation around Bournemouth and East Dorset for the sailing events? The new South Downs National Park, it's very nicely placed!