• Sofia Eugeniou

Lake District fails to attract young BAME visitors

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

While the national park attracts 15.8 million visitors to the north-west of England each year, it is failing to draw enough young and ethnic minority visitors.

The Lake District is failing to encourage young visitors particularly from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Chief executive for the Lake District has warned that greater diversity must be achieved to justify public funding.

Head of the Lake District National Park Authority, Richard Leafe, said the World Heritage site may "lose its relevance" if it becomes "exclusive to one single group".

Image credit: CNN Travel

While the Lake District is attracting a younger audience than other countryside destinations, especially among 25-35-year-olds, not enough are from black and ethnic minorities.

The current challenge is to reverse this trend and encourage people from broader backgrounds and a wider range of personal mobilities into the national park to be able to benefit in the same way as those other groups do.

The issue of muted black environmentalist voices and a lack of desire to spend time in and around nature is a long-standing issue within the BAME community.

In an unprecedented time where we need our physical and mental health more than ever, especially among BAME groups, the perks nature provides to our well-being and health is vital, and public nature sites such as the Lake District must be promoted as best they can for black and ethnic minority groups to also gain from.

A government-commissioned report into the future of Britain's protected landscapes, published in September of 2019, criticised national parks for not doing enough to make people welcome.

National parks were described as an "exclusive, mainly white, mainly middle-class club, with rules only members understand and much too little done to encourage first-time visitors" by the report's author, Julian Glover.

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