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Research Case studies

Developing wildlife tourism in East Yorkshire


This project – carried out by a team of staff and post-graduate students working in Responsible Tourism – researched the economic benefits of nature-based tourism and associated economic activities in East Yorkshire.

The research focused on the Coast, Wolds, Wetlands and Waterways Nature Tourism Triangle in the region. It includes the nature attractions of Bempton Cliffs, Flamborough Head, Spurn Point and the Deep in Hull, plus a range of connecting reserves and ecologically important sites.

Commissioned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) and funded by the EU’s LEADER Programme, the project brief was to provide the evidence needed for the Trust and other partners to invest in additional products, services and marketing activities to enhance the area’s profile as a destination for wildlife tourism.

Our findings

It was found that wildlife tourism in the area generates between nine to £10 million for the local economy, providing 170 full-time jobs – an economic benefit brought about by 260,000 visitors every year.

The majority of visitors to the area were on day trips and not committed nature tourists, so converting day visitors into overnight guests and attracting more specialist nature tourists represented two strategies for delivering more economic and community benefits.

By comparing the area against other coastal wetlands at home and abroad, our research estimates that a nature-based tourism economy of £30 million could be developed in the Triangle area, subject to appropriate investment. Such an income could facilitate more than 500 jobs – a significant finding for one of the most disadvantaged rural areas in the UK.

The research project also reviewed nature-based tourism initiatives around the world, providing the YWT and its partners with essential criteria for good practice in the industry in order to provide helpful guidance as to where investment is required.

More information

If you would like to find out more about our developing wildlife tourism in East Yorkshire research, please contact Simon Woodward.

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