Forest visitors urged to get on board again

Daily Echo: The New Forest Tour  open-top double-decker bus. The New Forest Tour open-top double-decker bus.

NEW Forest National Park chiefs are continuing with a campaign to persuade visitors exploring the area to leave their cars behind.

Hundreds of tourist-related businesses in the district have been given updated memory sticks to help them encourage their customers to use alternative forms of transport, including buses and bicycles.

The memory sticks are packed with photographs, maps and videos – plus information on a range of new eco-friendly services launched last year. These include an extension to the New Forest Tour, which uses open-topped double-decker buses to take tourists around the area.

The National Park Authority (NPA) also runs the New Forest Walking Festival and the New Forest Travel Concierge, a meet-and-greet service based at Brockenhurst railway station.

The initiative was launched last year and is being repeated this summer.

Mark Clayson, own-er of Bay Trees bed & breakfast in Milford on Sea, was among those who took part in the 2013 scheme. He said: “Images on the memory stick included stunning views of the Forest and were a godsend when updating our website.”

Bobbie Lawrence, marketing assistant at Shorefields Holidays, added: ”I found the imagery fantastic and have used it in our promotional material, both in print and online.

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“Tour bus information was used on the Shorefield website and blog, helping our guests access the New Forest and surrounding areas.

The memory sticks are one of several schemes funded by a £3.8m Government grant that aims to encourage 370,000 visitors to the New Forest and South Downs national parks to switch to car-free travel by March 2015.

NPA chairman Julian Johnson said significant progress had already been made.

He said: “We had great success last year with a record 40,000 passengers on the New Forest Tour.

“The free photos, videos and maps on the memory sticks help businesses to play their part and spread the message to visitors to make that switch.”

Business that would like a free memory stick should e-mail communication@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

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