Unit 18 Tourism in Rural Areas – Notes

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand how UK rural areas meet different visitor motivations 
  2. Understand changes in demand for facilities and services in UK rural areas
  3. Understand roles and responsibilities of organisations responsible for the management of UK rural areas
  4. Understand impacts of tourism on rural areas and techniques used to manage these

  1. What is Rural Tourism? is when people go to areas where there is no manmade attractions
  2. Who does it? families wanting a natural outdoor holiday, geologists, photographers, explorers and school trips
  3. What are their motivations? Unidentified locations, want to go somewhere different, hobbies and interests, ideal locations for photo opportunities and sport activities
  4. What can we do in the countryside? Sporting activities, camping and taking photos
  5. Where are the rural areas? In countrysides 

AONB’s – Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Areas of Low Density Population – Coastal, Countryside, Mountains and Islands

Rural tourism is any form of tourism that showcases the rural life, art, culture and heritage at rural locations. Thereby benefitting the local community economically and socially, as well as enabling interaction between tourists and locals for a more enriching tourism experience.
It is multi-faceted and may entail farm or agricultural tourism and is experience oriented.
The locations are predominantly in natural environments; they want the seasonality, local events and are based on preservation of culture, heritage and traditions

  • Traditional Pursuits – Walking, Camping, Fishing, Hunting and Cycling
  • Modern Pursuits – Mountain Biking, Quad Biking, Water Sports, Wellness Retreats and Team Building 
  • Special Interest Tourism -Heritage and Wildlife
  • Passive – Painting, Sightseeing, Canal Cruising, Photography, Wildlife Viewing and Peace and Quiet 
  • Active – Walking, Climbing, Caving, Horse Riding, Pony Trekking and Winter Sports
  • Education – Geography, Field-trips and Team Building 
Introduction to AONB’s

The finest countryside areas in England and Wales have been designated by the government as National Parks or AONB’s. They are protected by law to ensure conservation and enhancement of their natural beauty for present and future generations.
There are 40 AONB’s in England and Wales covering over 20,000 square kilometres of land which is equivalent to 13.5%
The smallest is the Isles of Scilly (16 square km) and the largest is the Cotswolds (2,038 square km)

National Parks and  AONB’s – Similarities 

  • Have equal importance land scape quality terms 
  • Are designated to conserve and enhance the natural beauty 
  • Have the same level of protection in planning policies
  • Also like national parks, public bodies must contribute to AONB’s management by having regard for the AONB purposes
National Parks and  AONB’s – Differences 

  • Recreation –  National Parks have an additional purpose to promote opportunities for people to understand and enjoy their special qualities. Although many AONB’s are important areas for recreation, there is no obligation to promote recreation
  • Management – National Parks have their own national park authorities, which are local authorities in their own right and their own planning, development control functions and other executive powers. They receive funds directly from central government and can take other funds from local authorities 
  • Social and Economical Wellbeing – National Park have a stated remit to foster social and economic wellbeing. This is not stated by for AONB, however the requirement does apply to AONB’s but through the remit of constituent local authorities 

Changes in Demand for Facilities and Services in UK Rural Areas


  • Different types of Visits – shorts breaks and day trips
  • Different types of Accommodation – B&B’s, farms and hotels 
  • Different types of Hospitality – cafes and pubs
  • Activity Centres – paint balling and water sports
  • Attractions – heritage and cultural 
  • Provision for Special Interest Tourism – painting and wildlife 


  • Provision for Specific Needs – sensory trails and wheelchair access 
  • Transport – provision of carparks and public transport
  • Retail – crafts and local produce 
  • Educational Services – guided walks and marked trails 
  • Information – visitor centres and information boards 

Other Reasons 

  • Changing working patterns 
  • Increased popularity of short breaks 
  • Environmental awareness 
  • The recession 
  • An increase in special interest tourism and adventure tourism 
  • The weak pound 
  • Legislation
  • Technology 

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