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Cutting the cake to celebrate ten years of tree-mendous tourism

Friday, 11th January 2013

National Forest and Beyond Visitor Guide

The National Forest and Beyond Tourism partnership celebrated ten years of joint working this week, with a glass of champagne and cutting a magnificent cake complete with tree in full leaf.

The partnership, comprisingEast Staffordshire Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, South Derbyshire District Council and the National Forest Company, was set up ten years ago to jointly promote the area in and around The National Forest as a tourism destination. The celebratory event, held at the Hilton Hotel at St. George’s Park,the newest jewel in the Forest’s crown, saw the launch of the 2013 National Forest & Beyond campaign, and the continued marketing of the developing Forest as a brand with unique environmental qualities that the varied attractions and tourism services in the area use to support their own marketing.

Tourism in the area is now valued at a phenomenal £315m (2011). The latest figures indicatethere are 7.8 million visitors per year to The National Forest and the industry supports 4,437 tourism related jobs.

Councillor David Leese, Deputy Leader for Partnerships at East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: “East Staffordshire Borough Council has been a strong supporter of the National Forest & Beyond tourism campaign since it began ten years ago.  The campaign has helped to raise the profile of the area, attract new visitors to visit the borough and with the opening of the new St. George’s Park National Football Centre and Hilton hotels the borough is well placed to continue making a contribution to the development of The National Forest as a quality visitor destination.”

Councillor Bob Wheeler, Leader of South Derbyshire District Council is an ardent supporter of the National Forest & Beyond visitor campaign. He said:“The National Forest, as Britain’s most ambitious environmental project, is creating an identity for South Derbyshire and the surrounding areas that people want to come and explore further.

“This is promoting greater economic well-being and healthier, even more prosperous places to live, work and visit.

“The National Forest and Beyond brand has grown in size and stature over the last ten years and we are looking forward to seeing its rise continue as it becomes established as one of the country’s top visitor destinations.”

Councillor Alison Smith, Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for community services at North West

Leicestershire District Council said: “The Council continues to work closely with The National Forest and

Beyond team to collectively drive tourism business to our local area and to continually improve our fantastic and diverse product offer.’’

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, said: “Ten years ago we had so much less to offer in The National Forest. It has grown hugely as a destination and our job is now to get even more people to visit and enjoy all that we have to offer. I’m sure in ten years’ time we’ll be celebrating thousands of cyclists, many more walkers and an ever wider cultural offer. Here’s to the future!” 

Tourism businesses from the area attended the event, and, before the celebratory cutting of the cake, in recognition of the role new online technologies play when people search and book holidays and research places to go, Jon Egley of e-Business outlined how businesses can achieve a higher profile in Google. Attendees also heard about the 2013 campaign to promote the area, picked up copies of the new Visitor Guides hot off the press, and had an opportunity to join a tour of the hotels and St George’s Park.

The new 2013 National Forest & Beyond Visitor Guides focus on ‘It’s all happening in The National Forest’, highlighting fantastic gentle walks, award-winning attractions, lovely places to stay and a packed programme of events. The Guides are bursting with ideas on places to take the family and where to enjoy the woodlands and countryside; they also highlight local food of the area.

The Visitor Guides are produced by theNational Forest & Beyond Partnership, which comprises the National Forest Company,East Staffordshire Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council and South Derbyshire District Council,to promote the tourism economy in the Forest and surrounding areas.