New website for Nature Reserve
Gibraltar’s Nature Reserve is now online with the launch of its official website last week.
The website ‘www.naturereserve.gi’ was launched by the Minister for the Environment, Dr John Cortes, CEO Dr Liesl Mesilio and Senior Environment Officer Stephen Warr, and forms part of the Department’s ongoing post-Covid economic recovery plan.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Ms Mesilio at the launch.
“It was part of our ticketing platform. Some of you may have seen the ticketing wristbands that we launched in 2019. Covid set this back.”
“We then decided to give ourselves a little bit of time post-Covid to see how the tourism dynamic and demographic would change.”
“So that we could ensure that this website could really cater for the new type of tourism demographic that is emerging and that is, I think, precisely what we've done.”
The department worked with several local photographers and experts in a bid to incorporate the highest quality information on the website.
These ranged, Ms Mesilio said, from very passionate individuals to experts such as Mr Warr to ensure that it showcased the very best of what the Nature Reserve has to offer.
“The website will allow visitors to have complete control over their experience in Gibraltar in relation to our crown jewels, our greatest asset, which is the Nature Reserve,” she said.
“Whether they wish to see it on foot, by private tour or by bike, they can tailor visit their visitor experience from the comfort of their web browser.”
“The information that we have presented, we feel, is the right balance of broad yet concise understanding of the unique experiences in relation to our expansive flora, fauna, history, culture and natural assets.”
“So, as a result of that, we've created this bespoke website, which not only allows you to purchase your experience but also has critical information for visitors on the journey of their tourist experience in Gibraltar.”
This includes key information about the Reserve, with an emphasis on conservation.
“I think it's important to highlight the great work that goes on, very often not noticed, behind the scenes when it comes to maintaining not just the Reserve but its wildlife and its sights,” said Ms Mesilio.
The brand also includes a new logo for the Nature Reserve with the silhouette of various elements of the Rock, such as the Tower of Homage and a barbary macaque being included.
“We're also developing new experiences to broaden the attractiveness of the Reserve, from enhanced walking packages with branded products; guided walks; sunset yoga; the full works,” she said.
“It is something we're very proud of and it's taken us a while to get here. And, I think, as well as reaching out via this digital space, we want to be doubling up our strength by having a very strong social media platform and we're going have a massive marketing campaign over the next couple of years.”
Mr Warr explained that other well known nature spots around the world such as Yellowstone National Park or the Hawaiian National Park to have their own websites to provide all the information a visitor needs.
“It's a one-stop-shop for Gibraltar nature, a lot of information in relation to the Upper Rock’s components of the Nature Reserve which has over 16 assets which people can visit.”
“If you compare that to other nature reserves in the region, you'll quickly realise that the number of sites to see is much higher.”
“So the idea is to essentially to build on that, to have a direct link to the Gibraltar Nature Reserve management plan and the work that's carried out there in terms of habitat management, species introductions, etc, which a lot of visitors nowadays will want to see.”
“Your typical visitor in the past would just go up and see the macaques, nowadays they want to see other aspects that are carried out in terms of wildlife conservation, and that's precisely the type of information that we're providing there. And also linked to the marine reserve,” he added.
History, live webcams, adopt an animal, green partnerships showing work done with the Parasol foundation in the past, a live bus tracker and frequently asked questions also feature on the website which will be updated with changing or new information.
Dr Cortes added all initiatives formed part of the new product.
Ms Mesilio said those to want to be part of the website can contact the Department of Environment.