New Survey to Compare Winchester with the Best of the Rest

A team of professional researchers will be arriving in Winchester this weekend to start work on a new survey of visitors and residents in the city centre. Winchester City Council has commissioned the survey from the regional tourism agency, Tourism South East, and is hoping for a good response rate.

Questions will invite interviewees to give their opinions about all aspect of a city centre visit, from parking, safety and street cleanliness to the range and variety of shops and eating places. Satisfaction ratings are then compared with other visitor destinations to help identify areas for improvement – and others for celebration.

Winchester City Council’s tourism service has traditionally commissioned regular visitor surveys, but this is the first time that a similar set of questions has been asked face to face of local people spending time in the city centre. City Council Leader, Cllr George Beckett explained:

"Past surveys have confirmed that a trip to Winchester is one which is treasured by visitors – and an experience that 96% would recommend to a friend. But it is useful to compare this with the views of local people, who spend more time in the city centre and are perhaps more critical of their surroundings. We need to ensure we are doing all we can to address their concerns too, and I shall be most interested in residents’ comments. "

400 visitors will be interviewed between June and October, along with 200 residents. Both are valid samples and should give a true reflection of opinions about the city centre.

The survey is one of a number of information-gathering activities taking place to support the development of a new tourism strategy for the Winchester District for 2009. It will also provide useful evidence for the refinement of the draft Winchester Transport and Access Plan, and evidence on which the City Council can shape future improvements to parking services. Results will also provide helpful feedback for a wide range of stakeholders from retailers and restaurateurs to the Business Improvement District team, and from the City Council’s environment service to Town Forum Members.

Thanks to the generosity of Winchester Cathedral and INTECH, there’s a family winter day out to be won as part of a prize draw for interviewees. The lucky winner will get the chance to go ice skating and visit the new planetarium this winter – enjoying two of the city’s major attractions in one festive go.

The City Council’s tourism team is therefore urging local people to make the job of the researchers an easy one by spending a short time answering their questions if they are stopped this summer. Head of Cultural Services Eloise Appleby adds:

"This isn’t just another person with a clipboard: it’s a survey which will help to inform developments in Winchester city centre, so please make sure you have your say by taking a little time out to answer the questions. Everyone has an opinion about Winchester, and this is the perfect time to air your views over your lunchtime sandwich or coffee stop."

A copy of the last survey of visitors, carried out in 2003, can be found by logging onto the popular tourism website,, and clicking on the ‘research’ button on the navigation bar.