Thumbs up for TIC

Customers have given a big "thumbs-up" to Winchester's Tourist Information Centre.

The centre, which has received a Tourism Excellence award from the regional tourist board, has now been rated as either "excellent" or "good" in the quality and speed of its service by 97% of visitors that took part in a first-ever customer satisfaction survey.

Customers were asked their opinions on a variety of aspects of the centre's operation. The majority of customers were impressed, responding 'excellent' or 'good' in the quality and speed of service; presentation of staff and the centre; ease of finding information; range of local regional, national and free information; accessibility of the centre and opening hours.

The survey covered both peak and off peak seasons and 99% of visitors rated their overall impression as either excellent or good.

The centre, which is housed in the city's historic Guildhall and is managed by Winchester City Council, handles almost 230,000 enquiries each year from customers all over the world.

Cllr Therese Evans, Winchester City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, commented that Winchester Tourism is committed to a programme of research as a basis for service and strategic development.

"The TIC is often the first port of call for visitors, and first impressions - from the staff and the service they provide - are critical to ensuring a good start to their stay," she added.

Alison Woods, Tourist Information Centre Manager, said: "We are delighted with the findings. Customers were asked which aspects of their visit had particularly impressed them and many responded with compliments to the staff.

"There were also some suggestions for improvements - such as signage to the Tourist Information Centre, and a greater range of merchandise - and the team will be exploring these over the coming year."

The Tourist Information Centre is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and can be contacted on: 01962 840500 or e-mail or via the website