Tourism to get VIP treatment

Tourism Boost: Steve Slinn, who will be the manager, and Peak Rail Joint Managing Director Jackie Statham celebrate securing the contract to convert part of the Peak Rail shop into the new Tourist Information Centre for Matlock and the surrounding area.
Tourism Boost: Steve Slinn, who will be the manager, and Peak Rail Joint Managing Director Jackie Statham celebrate securing the contract to convert part of the Peak Rail shop into the new Tourist Information Centre for Matlock and the surrounding area.

MATLOCK’s new tourist information centre is due to be opened at the town’s train station.

The news comes a month after it was announced the current centre is one of two earmarked for closure as part of a cost-cutting exercise by Derbyshire Dales District Council.

As part of a new partnership between the council and Peak Rail, the new visitor information point (VIP) will be opened to offer advice and services to visitors.

Peak Rail joint managing director Jackie Statham said: “As one of the major tourist attractions in the Matlock area we acknowledge the need to promote tourism in our town.

“We are hopeful this new venue will be beneficial to Derbyshire Dales District Council and provide a very important service to the local tourist industry.”

The aim is for the VIP service is to take accommodation bookings, offer advice and provide access to on-line content, literature and other reference material.

A district council spokesperson said: “We are thrilled that Peak Rail will be running a Visitor Information Point in Matlock, and glad that a local social enterprise will benefit from providing tourist information.

“The benefits to businesses which host a VIP include increasing footfall and bringing new revenue through sales of literature and Dales-branded souvenirs previously sold by tourist information centres.

“We appreciate the continuing need for a physical presence throughout the Dales, which is why we are going down the partnership route. What we also acknowledge however is that many visitors planning a trip to the Dales now have a wealth of on-line information to consult before setting out.

“Council tax payers have told us that spending on visitor information is among their lowest priorities and that’s why the new scheme works so well – –––it has the potential to improve visitor services while cutting costs.”

The new approach follows a review of visitor services by the Visit Peak District and Derbyshire Destination Management Partnership, in anticipation of a reduction in funding across Derbyshire towards visitor services.

The review last year concluded tourist information needed to match modern visitor behaviour and demand.

But the council was criticised in December when they announced the current shop, on Crown Square, would close in March and the staff would lose their jobs along with the centre in Ashbourne to help save £110,000. Bakewell’s centre is also currently under review.