What we do

2019 tourism forum

North Pennines Tourism Forum 2019

‘Digital Landscapes’… developing, integrating and interacting

The 2019 North Pennines Tourism Forum was held on Thursday 2 May in Blanchland Village Hall

Navigating the digital landscape

Don’t know your Facebooks from your YouTubes? This event sought to demystify digital, enabling tourism businesses and others to harness practical tools to communicate with potential visitors.

The purpose of the forum was to assist businesses working in the visitor economy to embrace digital marketing in their work. We also explored some of the ways in which digital approaches can help us to develop the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark as a tourism destination.

Keynote speaker

Our keynote speaker (‘Digital marketing for microbusinesses’) was Susan Briggs – from Tourism Knowhow, based in Masham, North Yorkshire. Susan has been working in tourism marketing for over 30 years and has helped in excess of 7,500 businesses to attract visitors and become more profitable. In her ‘spare time’ she runs a holiday cottage and is involved in her local community and somehow manages to run tourism networks in both the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Find out more about Susan here.

In the spotlight

Our business spotlight was the North East Business Woman of the Year Alison Raper from Teesdale Cheesemakers. Alison, who spoke about how digital has helped her business, has had an eclectic career including fiction writing, CEO of a charity and running her own complementary health centre. Three years ago, her career took a foody turn when she set up Teesdale Cheesemakers with her husband Jonathan. Since then the couple have won nearly 30 cheese & business awards, supply almost 40 outlets across the region.

Expert panel

After our keynote speaker and business case-study delegates were able to put their digital marketing questions to an expert panel, comprised of Susan and Allison together with Francine Bult from Cumbria Tourism and Nicola Lisgo from Visit County Durham.


  • Using Digital to Enrich and Deepen Visitor Experience: Tim Crump (Digital Interpretation Officer)
  • Developing North Pennines AONB & UNESCO Global Geopark Digital Channels – Getting Involved: Sarah Hudspeth (Communications Officer)
  • The North Pennines Tourism Toolkit – Highlighting our Special Qualities: Shane Harris (Responsible Tourism Lead)

Get involved

We looked at some of the ways in which the AONB Partnership has been using digital to enrich and deepen the visitor experience in the North Pennines AONB & UNESCO Global Geopark. We also highlighted the forthcoming North Pennines Tourism Toolkit (and new digital-friendly website) – a suite of online tools and resources to help tourism businesses position themselves in this internationally recognised and protected landscape. After a networking lunch delegates were able to pick up valuable hints and tips in two ‘how to’ sessions – ‘blogging about your business’ and ‘getting along with Google’ presented by Susan.

Future events

The AONB Partnership organises a North Pennines Tourism Forum every year as an opportunity for businesses involved in the visitor economy to come together to network with each other and meet tourism professionals.

  • For further information contact Shane Harris (Responsible Tourism Lead for the North Pennines AONB Partnership) on 01388 528801 or shane@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

You may also like...

Did you know…