A new visitor film has been launched by Forest organisations and marks the start of a new collaboration between tourism body Go New Forest and the Love the Forest scheme.
The visitor welcome film, led by the New Forest National Park Authority with Forestry England and Go New Forest, the official Destination Management Organisation for the New Forest, encourages visitors and locals to help look after the landscape, buy local and get around car-free.
The film was part-funded by a £2,000 grant from Love the Forest, a visitor giving scheme run by registered charity The New Forest Trust, which works with businesses to encourage guests to add a donation to a stay, restaurant bill or product and then gives grants to fund conservation, education and commoning projects.
Alison Wilson, Go New Forest Board member and Love the Forest trustee, said the tourism body is encouraging more of its members to collect donations and is promoting the scheme to visitors online on the destination website – www.thenewforest.co.uk.
She said: ‘Go New Forest is proud to have chosen Love the Forest as its charity of the year and members are keen to step up their support of visitor giving. It’s great that our first project together is helping to protect the very thing our visitors come to see – the spectacular landscape and the traditional way of life here.’
Jaqui Oldfield, owner of Red Shoot Camping Park in Linwood, said she would be playing the film on a screen in reception and will embed it onto her website. She said: ‘My family have lived in the New Forest for generations and understand the environmental sensitivity of this unique area. We’re a Go New Forest member and would 100% encourage other businesses to get involved with Love the Forest. Collecting donations is not difficult to do and there are plenty of resources available to help get the messages out there about caring for the Forest.’
Hilary Harper, Love the Forest trustee, said: ‘We fund vital conservation projects such as removing invasive plants from choking our rivers and helping to protect New Forest ponies. Our education projects are equally important so it’s vital to work closely with the tourism industry to share the film and gain more business supporters.’
Aynsley Clinton, of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Over half the National Park is internationally important for nature conservation. Our role is to ensure tourism is sustainable, giving back to the landscape and local communities and ensuring people respect the National Park. The film is an accessible way to find out the best ways to enjoy the New Forest while protecting the environment.’
Richard Burke, District Recreation Manager, Forestry England, said: ‘The New Forest is one of the UK’s most important landscapes for conservation and wildlife. It’s also a special place for people to connect to nature. We want people to enjoy their time in the Forest, deepening their understanding of why it’s so special and providing practical ways they can help to care for it.’
The visitor welcome film can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/fRxXTNymF9w.
Businesses are encouraged to embed the video into their own websites, show in their shops and reception areas or send the link when visitors book their accommodation or activities.
(Left to right): Launching the New Forest visitor welcome film are Aynsley Clinton, NFNPA; Richard Burke, Forestry England; Alison Wilson, Go New Forest; Jaqui and Eloise Oldfield, Red Shoot Camping Park, Linwood; Hilary Harper, Love the Forest treasurer.