Tourism on the Edge: Cumbrian Solway Coast

Guiver, Jo W orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6126-3662 and Ujma, Dorota orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5092-6782 (2017) Tourism on the Edge: Cumbrian Solway Coast. In: The Visitor Economy, Strategies and Innovation Conference, 4-6 September 2017, The Bournemouth University, the Department of Tourism and Hospitality. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


Although tourism can threaten local natural and social habitats, more often it offers a way of funding conservation and of boosting the local economy. This paper describes the potential of small-scale tourism to the English Solway coast and how organisations involved in conservation, heritage and commerce claimed a common interest in promoting the local visitor economy. The north west of Cumbria is a little known, but attractive, area of coast and countryside, with a rich heritage including monasteries, fortified farm houses and a method of fishing (Haaf) dating from Viking times. The Solway Coast Area
of Outstanding Natural Beauty protects two areas either side of Silloth, a Victorian resort built and planned by developers of the Silloth Carlisle railway line. The area enjoys spectacular views across the estuary and mountains of southern Scotland and is renowned for stunning sunsets as depicted by Turner and other artists. Hadrian’s Wall trails attract walkers and cyclists beginning or ending their trips. Yet, despite numerous attractions, tourism has failed to thrive in the area. Interviews with local tourism providers explored the reasons for this and how it might be changed. The research found that the area was truly ‘on the edge’, not just of the Solway Firth, England and Cumbria and one of the UK’s most visited natural areas, the Lake District, but it was on the edge of political power and viability as a tourism destination. It had been further marginalised by changes in the organisation of regional development and a re-orientation away from nurturing small-scale local employment towards supporting larger area-wide commercial initiatives. However, its slow decline was not solely due to external causes. The research identified three distinct discourses about the natural environmental: conservation, habitat and
asset, reflecting the type of organisation and prevailing views when it was founded. Other organisations were more interested in the benefits to the local population and communities. While each type of organisation had reason to support increased tourism, the differences between them appeared to dominate over the common purpose.
The presentation discusses how small destinations such as the English Solway coast can help and be helped by tourism and
the consequences if it is not. It explores the necessary conditions for tourism to thrive in small peripheral areas.

Repository Staff Only: item control page