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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Success for New Forest Tour

Businesses in the New Forest are celebrating after the success of the ‘red’ and ‘green’ New Forest Tours which take passengers around the New Forest on an open-top bus.

The green route has been operating for the past six years and has seen its popularity grow year-on-year. Passenger numbers have more than doubled since 2006. This year a staggering 20,000 people went on the green Tour visiting Beaulieu, Brockenhurst and Lymington.

The red route was introduced as a pilot scheme during the school summer-holiday and ran for six weeks. Two open-top buses took visitors around Burley, Ringwood, Fordingbridge and Lyndhurst.

The Tours helped visitors learn more about the Forest with a fascinating audio commentary, encouraged them to visit local businesses and reduced traffic by encouraging people out of their cars.

David Harrison, Lead Member for Transport at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This pilot Tour has been a phenomenal success. More than 14,000 people have taken the Tour in just six weeks.

‘The feedback has been extremely positive and we are working hard to ensure that the red route will become a regular fixture in the north and west of the Forest during the summer months.’

The new hop-on hop-off New Forest Tour route has been made possible by a partnership between the New Forest National Park Authority, Wilts & Dorset bus company and Sandy Balls Holiday Centre.

Brett Turner, Operations Director at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, said: ‘Sandy Balls is very pleased to have been a partner in this summer’s successful New Forest Tour. Not only have our guests and local residents enjoyed the benefits of this new sustainable access to the Forest but so has the local business community with reports of increased trading along the route.’

It is estimated that over 147,000 private car miles were saved by the New Forest Tour this year and that its customers generated a contribution of nearly £500,000 to the local economy.

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