Outdoors industry puts boot into Parliament with Westminster launch of new walking campaign.
If you're reading this, the chances are that you don't take much convincing to get out on the hill, but the outdoor industry's new Britain On Foot campaign (BoF) isn't really aimed at you - it's all about persuading the government to commit to the promotion of getting into the outdoors and its associated health benefits and the importance of the outdoor industry and associated businesses to the national economy.
Which is why the campaign was officially launched at Westminster earlier this week to an audience of 120 movers and shakers, with assorted MPs and outdoors bodies in attendance, because ultimately the campaign will only work with government money and commitment behind it.
In really simple terms, the argument runs like this:
1. Walking is good for people's health at a time when obesity is becoming a major issue and the Health Service is under pressure.
2. The outdoor economy is far more significant that people realise. Not just the companies producing the gear we use, but also associated service industries like skills providers, accommodation-based businesses, pubs and restaurants who benefit from outdoor enthusiasts.
So, the argument goes, support walking and you get a double whammy effect of improving the nation's health and reducing the burden on the NHS and supporting and helping to grow the outdoors industry at the same time.
That might, in time, mean doctors actually prescribing a course of country walking as formal health measure and lots of promotions designed to encourage people into the outdoors.
By all accounts the launch went really well with attendees from major outdoors bodies like the Ramblers and the BMC along with representatives of major outdoor brands hearing from the likes of Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health and Dan Jarvis MP, Labour Shadow Culture Minister and leaving positively enthused by the event.
'I am hugely encouraged by the response so far,' said Andrew Denton, head honcho at the Outdoors Industries Association. 'Let's work together and get the whole industry on board and ensure that Britain on Foot has legs!”
Anyway, if things take off, you can look forward to seeing BoF promotions starting to impact on your life some time next year and if you're part of the outdoors industry and want to get involved, which you should, head on over to britainonfoot.co.uk where you can find out more and order a BoF guidebook.
Big thumbs up to the industry from us, though fewer leg-tastic punning quips please...