Visitor Information Options For North Cotswolds

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Visitor Information Options For North Cotswolds

Two options for the future of Stow Visitor Information Centre are being put forward by Cotswold District Council.

The two proposals, which Stow Town Council has been invited to discuss at its September 18th meeting, are:
  • To offer Stow Town Council the opportunity to take over the running of the VIC, supported by a CDC grant.
  • To move the VIC service and staff to the visitor information service already provided at CDC’s Moreton Area Centre.

Option 1 would see CDC transfer the management of the VIC, which opened in Stow in 1987, to Stow Town Council or another mutually agreed organisation. CDC would provide a grant, reducing over a three-year period, which would be re-negotiated at the end of the third year.

Option 2 would give CDC the opportunity to create one centre for both residents and visitors in the North of the district, mirroring the recently successful move of Cirencester VIC from the Corn Hall to the Corinium Museum.

CDC’s Portfolio holder for Culture, Sport & Enterprise, Cllr David Fowles, said: “Cotswold District Council is absolutely committed to continuing to provide a visitor information service in the North Cotswolds.

“We have been looking at a number of different options for the future of Stow VIC for some time and believe that either of these proposals could work very well for visitors and residents.

“We want to offer Stow Town Council the opportunity to explore management of the VIC, supported by us. This type of arrangement has worked well in Bourton-on-the-Water where local business people set up a limited company to take over the management of the town’s VIC from us.

“However, we recognise that Stow may not wish to pursue this route and it is, of course, entirely their choice.

“As such, we are also considering the alternative option of moving our VIC service in the North Cotswolds to our Moreton Area Centre, to enhance the visitor information service already provided there. The locally-run Chipping Campden TIC will not be affected by this proposed option.

Cllr Fowles explained that CDC needed to consider a strategy that will allow for change.

He said: “There is absolutely no doubt about the value of a face-to-face service, but with so many advances in technology, more and more accommodation, events and attraction bookings will be made online.

“People also use their smartphones, such as the iPhone, standard mobile phones and satellite navigation units to gain instant access to accommodation, places of interest, travel options and much more.

As well as supporting Bourton VIC, CDC provides grants to the locally-run Tourist Information Centres at Chipping Campden and Tetbury.

Cotswold District Council will now await Stow Town Council’s response to its options before discussing the issue at its October Cabinet meeting.

CDC has also written to Moreton Town Council to inform them of the options.

Posted : 17/09/2008 18:35:18

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