Derbyshire Dales District Council is to close its tourist information centres in Matlock and Ashbourne in March. How crazy is that?
Tourism is Derbyshire’s prime source of income. It is huge – visitor attractions, shops, services, events, restaurants, accommodation - IT PROVIDES JOBS.
In the year of the Olympics, when visitors to the Games will also take the opportunity to tour the UK and the Olmypic torch is actually coming to Matlock, wouldn’t it have been sensible to think it through and at least delay such closures until autumn 2012?
This would provide enough time and space to involve tourism businesses and local people in assessing firm proposals for the future. Tourist Information Centres are the high profile, public face of tourism in Derbyshire.
Matlock’s TIC, in its prime spot on the bridge, is convenient and user-friendly for all those involved in tourism locally, for visitors and for local people.
Suggesting these services are moved to retail units is nonsense. As a retailer, would you deal with your customer or try and find the time of the next bus to Chatsworth for a visitor? Would visitors feel comfortable going into a shop in the town to seek out information? How will these information points be advertised?
To suggest that visitors can simply look up information on the internet is a nonsense. Those involved with this decision would do well to look at the spending power of visitors. Many visitors of an older generation have “gold-plated” pensions with more spending power.
But it is this group which is less likely to use the internet. At a time of recession, they can still afford mini-breaks and holidays and it is this group of visitors most likely to use the Tourist Information Centres.
What a slap in the face to those who sustain this vital and prime source of revenue, provides jobs and relies heavily on their TICs to put out information on their behalf.