New Visitor Giving scheme launched in the Cotswolds
A brand new tourism initiative has been launched in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty aimed at forging even stronger links between the visitor and the area they come to enjoy.
The Cotswolds Visitor Giving scheme, set up by the Cotswolds Conservation Board, is modelled on a similar schemes elsewhere, in particular the Lake District National Park which has successfully raised more than £2m over nearly two decades for environmental and landscape enhancement projects. The scheme works through tourism businesses asking their customers for a small voluntary donation via their bill or fees in recognition of their impact on the environment on which the tourism industry relies. The money raised by businesses will go towards a range of landscape and environmental projects across the Cotswolds to help conserve its natural beauty and enable people to access and enjoy the area now and in the future.
Burford-based Manor Cottages, which operates over 250 holiday cottages throughout the Cotswolds, was the first business to sign up to the scheme and is looking forward to playing its part in helping to look after the Cotswolds.
“We are very proud to be able to support the Cotswolds through this scheme. As a long-standing provider of holiday accommodation in the Cotswolds, we fully appreciate the need to conserve the very asset that attracts visitors here in the first place. We have therefore agreed to donate an additional pound to every one pound donation generated through our bookings by customers which will go towards supporting worthwhile projects in the Cotswolds,” said Manager, Chris Grimes at the launch.
In additional to Manor Cottages, other tourism businesses which have already signed up to the scheme or who are interested finding out more include Notgrove Holiday Cottages and Batsford Arboretum.
Conservation Board member and owner of Notgrove Holiday Cottages, Harry Acland, said: “We have lived in this area for many years and are passionate about the Cotswolds landscape and the conservation of our wildlife. So, having recently developed our holiday cottage business, it seemed only natural that we should join this scheme and start doing our bit for the environment.”
Director at Cotswolds Conservation Board, Martin Lane, said: “We are looking forward to working with a wide range of businesses in the future to develop a long-term initiative that demonstrates how many B&Bs, holiday cottages, hotels, visitor attractions and individuals visitors care about this much loved and special landscape. Our previous experience, and that from elsewhere, shows that many people are prepared to make a small contribution to support projects that help make a difference to the area.”
The type of projects that will be supported through the Visitor Giving scheme are wide-ranging and can include schemes such as the restoration of wildflower meadows and ancient woodland, improvements to footpaths and cycle ways, creation of new circular walks and cycle routes, improvements to habitats for endangered wildlife species such as the water vole and duke of burgundy butterfly, plus restoration of dry stone walls and hedgerows.
For further details of the scheme, please go to: www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/visitorgiving
(Pictured clockwise from top left: Nick Holliday, CCB; Chris Grimes, Manor Cottages; Harry Acland, Notgrove Holidays; Susie Hunt, Batsford Arboretum)
Notes to editors:
- The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
- The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
- The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk