NEW FOREST tourism businesses are planning how to share resources and workers to help each other through the coronavirus emergency.
Traders who are part of the 200-member Go New Forest tourist organisation will pool resources by using a private Facebook group to offer support and advice, and coordinate communications.
Assistance might range from finding produce and equipment if supply chains break to potentially sharing staff if shortages occur.
Anthony Climpson, chief executive of Go New Forest, said: “We have postponed our regular sector meetings as a precaution, but the private Facebook group will enable us to continue to communicate regularly over the coming days and weeks.
“We will also use it to share marketing and communication messages, to ensure we’re as effective as possible in our contacts with customers and the media during these unprecedented times.
“During the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001 we learned a huge amount about how to manage the complexities of such situations and, over the last few weeks, we have met with our different sector groups to discuss and identify operational and destination wide matters to help minimise the issues associated with the current chain of events.”
Mr Climpson warned the A&T last week that some businesses in the New Forest – which employ thousands of people – were facing drops in bookings of up to 50%.
He added: “Go New Forest will also continue to act as a collecting point and distribution hub for national advice and support.
“We will all obviously need to learn as we go forward, and the Facebook group is the ideal tool for sharing and supporting each other.”
As reported in the A&T, while shops have been inundated with people stocking up, eateries have fallen quiet and have been overhauling their operations to provide takeaways to keep their businesses ticking over.
The New Forest Business Partnership urged healthy people to keep shopping and to support their local economy.