In the caravan industry, we all know the value of having an attractive park, and many customers welcome initiatives that are not just good to look at, but which support values that they may already hold.
In 1996, BH&HPA launched ‘The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme’ to encourage biodiversity, to improve energy use, and to strengthen links with local communities. Not only do the parks in the scheme become better neighbours within their community, they also develop new skills in the workforce and the scheme can help provide them with an edge when it comes to marketing. The staff on the park will acquire new skills within the scheme – there is a great deal of support within the scheme itself, but other training also provides relevant learning, and helps with any staff development that may be required.
For example, one of the optional units within the level 2 NVQ and Apprenticeship in Operational Services is ‘Conserving the Park Environment’. Staff learn about actions to take that will make the park more attractive for wildlife, and decrease negative impact on the environment. They will understand the importance of good sign boards which bring park customers a greater understanding of biodiversity in the area, and help them look more closely and clearly at the natural world. They will also learn about saving energy, which has financial benefits as well as ecological ones.
Environmental initiatives are not always uppermost in these difficult times, but sometimes they can really enhance the park’s offer to customers as well as having less obvious benefits such as saving on energy bills. Gaining this award is a way of letting existing and potential customers know that a park has something special to offer and is doing its bit for the environment. It could help a park stand out from the crowd in a busy marketplace.
According to Great Britain Tourism Survey figures, almost 16 million caravan holidays were taken in 2012, from weekends away in a touring caravan or motorhome to longer breaks in either hired or owned caravan holiday homes. Statistics collated by the National Caravan Council state that the Caravan Industry in the UK currently contributes around £6 billion per annum to the UK economy (revenue from sales of products and related services, holiday bookings, etc).
With such a substantial contribution industry, it is important that staff give of their best, and much training is available to help them do this. With the environment so crucial to the industry in recent years as public awareness of environmental issues continues to grow, some park customers may benefit from relevant training, which is on hand to raise awareness and develop staff in many relevant areas, including:
1. The importance of the carbon footprint
There is greater awareness of how the carbon footprint impacts on the environment. As well as this influencing potential travel distances on holiday, some customers are now looking for more environmentally friendly locations when deciding where to stay – recycling, energy saving etc.
2. Financial savings from good management of energy and waste
Parks that are able to reduce the amount of energy and water used and rationalise the amount of waste can benefit from reductions in utility bills and other costs which can be passed on to their customers.
Parks that have a rich and more diverse wildlife are able to provide a more appealing experience for the holiday maker. As the BH&HPA state, “boosting biodiversity is good for business” and the experience of a child seeing a badger or deer in the wild for the first time is surely beyond price.
For managers, one of the units within the Foundation Degree in Tourism Park Management is ‘Managing Biodiversity and Conservation’, which, of course, also includes the relevant ‘good neighbour’ aspects
If you would like to know more about the CITO NVQ Level 2 or the apprenticeship please visit www.cito.org.uk. A support booklet “Conserving the Park Environment” is available from CITO for £5 (including postage) or can be picked up from the CITO stands at either the Hull or Beaulieu shows for just £2.
For information on the foundation degree in Tourism Park Management please e mail Jenny Pritchard firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like more information on the BH&HPA David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme please visit http://www.bellamyparks.co.uk/