I have just spent two nights in the New Forest working with Anthony Climpson to develop indicators to be used with the VICE destination responsibility model which he has developed in the New Forest over the last 20 years.
I realised while I was there that I last visited the New Forest about 20 years ago and there was hostility to tourists then – we did not feel welcomed. Anthony's work over the last 20 years has contributed to the change which is now very evident and initiatives like the New Forest Breakfast have improved the experience for the visitor, benefited the local economy and contributed to the change in attitudes.
I arrived by rail from Waterloo and stayed in a delightful cottage a short walk from the station and within walking distance of the Forest. The Cottage Lodge won the Gold Sustainable Tourism Award in the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence 2008 announced on St George's Day .
The Gold Award for Large Hotel of the Year was also won by a New Forest property the
Chewton Glen Hotel
The New Forest won the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards for Best Destination in 2007
I am working with Anthony Climpson to develop indicators which will enable the New Forest to report annually on how much progress it has made in achieving its Responsible Tourism objectives organised around VICE – a model which recognises the multi stakeholder engagement in tourism in the Forest and takes a holistic view of the importance of tourism to Visitors, Industry, Community and Environment.