“We are aware of a very small number of cases which involve people in the UK joining an overseas conservation organisation, with which we have reciprocal visiting rights, in order to access Trust sites at a lower cost. As a conservation charity, we rely heavily on the money we receive from our memberships and visitors to look after the beautiful properties, gardens, coastline and countryside in our care for the nation to enjoy.
“It’s therefore deeply disappointing that some people choose to take advantage of this arrangement and effectively opt to pay no donation directly to the charity which looks after the places they enjoy visiting. The more people that do this, the less money we will have to look after these special places.
“Reciprocal visiting arrangements were set up to ensure people who supported conservation and heritage charities in their own countries could enjoy similar places abroad for free. They provide a way we can increase the value our members get from joining the National Trust, and many enjoy using their cards in countries like New Zealand, Canada and Scotland. Currently, the benefits we gain and the supporters we attract through our reciprocal visiting arrangements far outweigh any lost revenue from the very small number of people who do decide to join overseas.
“We believe our membership offers great value for money – a family membership costs less than £8.20 a month and provides unlimited access to hundreds of locations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our members also enjoy a number of benefits that are not available to those joining from other countries, including free parking at nearly all our places, our Members’ Handbook and our magazine. Also, over the coming 12 months they will experience further benefits with the introduction of a new supporter loyalty programme.”