A new study has found that the Martin Mere Wetland Centre injects around £5.8 million to the local economies of West Lancashire and Sefton every year. Nick Brooks, General Manager at Martin Mere, said “The study shows that nature conservation not only pays dividends for wildlife but it can also greatly benefit people. I’m sure that the other eight Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centres around the country are also having a similar impact on their areas.”
The research was carried out by students studying for their Master in Business Administration Degree (MBA) at the University Of Lancaster Management School, which has been ranked by the Financial Times as offering one of the best MBA courses in the world.
Martin Mere directly employs over 60 full-time and part-time staff but the study also found that the wetland centre was responsible for indirectly supporting a further 31 full-time jobs in the local economy. The injection of cash into the local economy and the support for local jobs comes from the wetland centre’s almost 200,000 visitors every year, plus Martin Mere’s own spending with local contractors on supplies and services.
The research also found that visitors to the centre, from within a one hour travelling time, injected a further £4 per visit into the local economy on top of their spending at the wetland centre. However, visitors that came from further afield could spend over £70 per visit on local services such as food, gifts, fuel and lodging. As a result, Martin Mere is working with local partners to market the area as an eco-destination to increase tourism, particularly in the traditional off-season of autumn and winter. It is at this time of year that the wetland centre plays host to what is already recognised as one of the UK’s most famous wildlife spectacles, as up to 50,000 pink-footed geese stop off in the autumn and a few thousand whooper swans are fed in front of the hides throughout the winter.
Throughout 2015, Martin Mere is celebrating its 40th birthday and the wetland centre is keen to hear your memories of the last 40 years and what part it has played in your life. It is also holding a 40th anniversary photography competition. Log onto wwt.org.uk/photocomp for further information.
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 6pm during summer months and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6. The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations. Visit the web site http://www.wwt.org.uk/martinmere/ to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight WWT Wetland Centres.