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TOURISM can help rather than hinder wildlife in protected areas, a conservation group has said.

The message comes as the RSPB has formed a partnership with national parks, including the South Downs National Park, to promote responsible rural tourism.

The partnership marks the first anniversary of our-land.co.uk, a website offering over 500 rural holidays in a national park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

It was launched last October by Jeremy Hunt, the then culture secretary.

Every tourism business listed on the website is selected for their commitment to conserving the landscape.

As part of the new partnership, businesses will receive advice and support on steps they can take to help wildlife.

Amelia Shepherd, from the Our Land initiative, said: ‘A partnership between Our Land and the RSPB strengthens the opportunity to get rural tourism right – so it works for conservation and protection of the much-loved features of our countryside, rather than against it.’

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