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July 7, 2021

Bringing the Island Spirit to the British Isles

Island Spirit has some very exciting news… we are bringing the spirit back home to our very own Island! Kirsty is in the planning stages of some very exciting community-based projects in the UK. This will naturally include the spirit of environmentalism and sustainability that is found in all our projects. She has many unique ideas up her sleeve to promote responsible tourism in England. Before this plan becomes a reality, we first thought it would be great to have a look at the ecology of our home country to gain a deeper understanding of our own environment.

Responsible tourism project in South West Coastal Path Sketching

Responsible tourism in South-West of England

The upcoming projects will be focussed in the beautiful South-West of England. This is an area famed for its gorgeous Jurassic coastlines, second to none surfing, and also its community focussed attitude. It is therefore the perfect place for Island Spirit to start to explore our own shores. As I am sure you already know, we love a good marine project. We will also identify how sustainable tourism can play a role in this area.

Polzeath Sunset

Thanks to charities, the area is already well protected. The Devon and Cornwall Wildlife Trusts are active in their conservation of marine life in the South-West. Devon boasts 15 Marine Conservation’s Zones (MCZ) and Cornwall have 22. The MCZ’s mean that under government legislation (The Marine AND Coastal Access Act 2009) these sites wildlife and habitats are protecting. It’s including the stars of the area: crawfish and Giant Gobies.

Unbeknownst to many, the Cornish and Devon coastlines are also awash with beautiful reefs. Moreover, the deep and muddy seabed provides its own all-important habitat for wildlife. The area is a great example of biodiversity, and that is one of the reasons it is so important to protect.

Responsible tourism can protect Polzeath grassy cliffs, England

Environmental projects on the British coastline

The goal of the protection zones is to halt and begin to reverse some of the damage caused by human activity. Both organisations are lobbying for the greater level of protection provided by a ‘Higher Marine Protected Area’. This would mean a complete ban on harmful practices such as fishing, scuba, and other water activities.

This extra level will also ensure that protection is extended to all species, across a wider geographical area, including inshore and nearshore. We know all habitats are interlinked, and so this would be a welcome step forward.

Polzeath beach

There are also numerous maritime and marine projects within the community. We are looking forward to finding out more about these on the ground to see how our expertise can contribute to the many amazing initiatives. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but instead bring our knowledge of linking local and vulnerable communities to their environment.

This enables that projects in conservation are sustainable, and also nicely links in with ecotourism. Simultaneously, it is ensuring that the millions of visitors who are flocking to the area for a nice ‘staycation’ appreciate and respect the natural environment too.

Communal dinner as an interaction with local community

Ecotourism in England

Whilst local councils and local people are promoting ecologically friendly travel, there are surprisingly few ecotourist packages or ecofriendly places to stay in the area. It appears tourists need to pay a premium to ‘go green’ for their holidays,

In many cases, this premium won’t get reinvested back into the local community. But at Island Spirit, we truly believe in the circular economy. We always ensure that profits are returned to the local community to support conservation efforts.

Sheep on Polzeath cliff need responsible tourism in England

For all these reasons, we are very excited about our jump over to the Island of Britain. We look forward to telling you more about our responsible travel ideas in the South-West of England soon! Kirsty will particularly take advantage of her LEJOG cycle trip to discover new beautiful places. If you are interested in collaborating in this venture, please contact us.

Here are a few links to learn more about Island Spirit:

About Island Spirit
Our travel ethos
Ethical approach in tourism
Island Spirit founder, Kirsty Barnby