Current trends in equine tourism suggest that the Fell Pony’s contribution to tourism is only in its infancy. Here are some of the trends and how they relate to Fell Ponies:
Voluntourism: (Yes, that’s an intentional misspelling.) People are increasingly interested in traveling with a purpose, and especially traveling with the intent of volunteering for the greater good. One example of how voluntourism related to Fell Ponies could be implemented is The Fell Pony Society is always in need of volunteers to assist with set up and take down of events.
New experiences: Travelers are looking for once-in-a-lifetime or unique experiences. This trend bodes well for businesses like Murthwaite Green Trekking Centre with their rides on the beach, for instance.
Ecological and education experiences: From a 2018 tourism survey, “These are usually rare experiences that educate and share inside information on the area, and how to protect it for the future. Tours that use proceeds to fund ecological projects such as forest or animal habitat restoration are chosen above alternatives without a cause.” If and when the Fell Pony Heritage Centre establishes a physical presence, it’s easy to imagine how it might address demand for this type of tourism, for instance.
Local experience: People want to become better acquainted with the local culture. Fell Ponies are ideal ambassadors for that in Cumbria with their heritage of living on the fells and helping do the work of the hill farms. And…
History and culture: And continuing from the above, Fell Ponies are ideally suited here because they also helped do the work of the area’s industrial past in the mines, woods, and on pack horse tracks.
Adventure: People are willing to travel for experiences that raise their adrenaline. It’s no wonder that Fell Pony Adventures adopted the name that they did for their wild-camping experiences in the Lake District! (1)
The Wellness/Therapeutic segment of equine tourism is just emerging. “[Research] concludes that opportunities for combining equestrian tourism, slow adventures, wellness and outdoor activities in focused product development do exist. However the small lifestyle entrepreneurs, who form the majority of the equestrian tourism industry, need more external financial and epistemic support to entering the highly developed and demanding market of health tourism.” (2)
Kutschera, Stephanie. “Travel trends that will drive the tourism industry in 2019,” Trekk Blog, as accessed 3/31/19 at https://www.trekksoft.com/en/blog/9-travel-trends-that-will-drive-the-tourism-industry-in-2019
Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir. Wellness and equestrian tourism – new kind of adventure?, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, Volume 18, 2018 - Issue 4, as accessed 3/31/19 at https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/A9yfGsknbFSWyZs9vcjF/full