Dorset Olympic legacy all at sea as Weymouth Council shuts Tourist information Centre
It welcomed the world as an Olympic and Paralympic host, but now Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is to close its Tourist Information Centre.
The so-called TIC, based in the Pavilion at the Dorset seaside resort, is due to close at the end of May as one of a set of proposals from working party set up to save £100,000 from the tourism budget. The news has outraged some businesses.
Whether or not another bureau takes its place will depend on the outcome of discussions and investigations by officials.
A final decision on the way ahead will be made at a meeting of the management committee on April 2.
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Partnerships with businesses are just one of the possibilities for presenting information to tourists. The TIC reports 200,000 people coming through its doors in a year, but between them, the Weymouth centre and another on Portland cost £300,000 a year to run and are said to bring in an income of around £200,000.
The pursuit of savings on the tourist budget may also have implications for the Portland centre. The Pavilion, the base of the town’s theatre, is being handed over to the community to run.
Councillor Ian Bruce, spokesman for tourism and culture, said: “Everybody on the council understands there is a need for the function of providing information and marketing for tourists, and locals, and we are finding the best way to do that. I’m happy to take ideas and representations from people.” He added that there could be much to learn from what happened during the Olympics when more electronic information was available.
He said that only yesterday one business had been in touch. Tourism is a discretionary function but the council has always invested in promoting the area. Weymouth is famed for its wide, flat beach and Portland loved for its rocky wildness. During the summer, fireworks displays attract thousands.
Mr Bruce said he acknowledged that the council is the largest landlord to hotels and guest houses in the borough.
Dave Price, chairman of Weymouth and Portland Hoteliers and Guesthouse Leaseholders’ Association, said: “How can a town reliant on tourism not have a centre of information for tourists? It is something that affects all businesses. I am outraged that this decision has not been made with public consent.”