TOURISM businesses and professionals in the North Pennines will be getting together this autumn to consider regenerative tourism and its potential for the area.

The North Pennines AONB Partnership will hold its annual tourism forum in October this year in Melmerby, Cumbria, and will consider the new buzz word in tourism circles – regenerative tourism. It promises to be a thought-provoking event, packed with networking opportunities, and chances to influence future thinking.

The programme aims to demystify the regenerative approach to tourism management and considers how it might fit with the special qualities of the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark.

Keynote speaker and acclaimed academic, Vicky Smith, is the founder of sustainable tourism start-up, Earth Changers. Vicky has worked in tourism since the mid-90s, and sustainable tourism since the mid-00s, in destinations, marketing, and e-commerce.

She has headed up operations abroad and online for major tour operators like Tui and Virgin Holidays, online travel agents and media, in package and specialist holidays, ski, tours, charity challenges and voluntourism, NGOs and sustainable tourism accreditation organisations.

In 2019, she was invited to be an ambassador for the Defra Year of Green Action and won the Travelmole UK Responsible Travel & Tourism Best Website. She currently sits on the trustee board for charity SEED Madagascar and helps the development team for the Global and European Ecotourism Networks.

Dr Emma Pope, community engagement trainee, will look at regenerating our relationship with nature through tourism. Emma has a PhD in Transformational Adventure Tourism and is passionate about the meaningful and memorable experiences that can happen through tourism and recreation.

There will also be an opportunity to find out more about recent and future tourism work from the North Pennines AONB Partnership, including the Fellfoot Forward Landscape Partnership Scheme, which focuses on an area of Cumbria from the North Pennines escarpment down to the river Eden.

Shane Harris, responsible tourism lead for the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark is a stunning destination – with its iconic wildlife, spectacular upland landscape, inky black night skies, close-knit communities, vibrant history and exciting geology.”

More information and bookings are available on the AONB Partnership’s website at

The 2022 North Pennines Tourism Forum is supported by the AONB Partnership’s Fellfoot Forward Landscape Partnership Scheme. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.