Plans afoot for a better welcome at Winchester Tourist Information Centre
Press Release: 14/09/2017
Winchester City Council has announced plans are moving ahead to refurbish Winchester Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in early 2018.
An overhaul of space on the ground floor of Guildhall Winchester will see a fresh modern look and new digital functionality to meet customer expectations and better represent businesses in the district. Architecture firms are submitting bids to draw up plans and a shortlist will be announced in due course.
The move to modernise the centre, which sees 120,000 people through its doors each year, comes as Winchester was selected to star in a new PM and Cabinet Office #StrongerEconomy campaign to underline the benefits to be had from local government supporting the tourist industry. Winchester City Council’s Leader and Chief Executive went on camera with the Cathedral’s Receiver General to talk about the way tourism worked locally and the reasons behind its success.
Tourism has a vital role to play in the district’s economy. The city alone has seen the economic impact of tourism grow from £292m at the outset of 2010 to £358m by the end of 2015. As the number of visitors rises, the spend per visit has also increased, due to innovative campaigns around heritage, festivals and most recently an international ‘push’ to reclaim Jane Austen with Visit Britain’s support. The resultant rise in day tripper footfall has outstripped expectations, rising from 4.3m to 5.5m over the last five years. Changes in customer expectations has led to the demand for the renovations from visitors and the 130+ businesses who officially align themselves with the Visit Winchester brand.
Cllr Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Business Partnerships said
The transformation of our TIC will increase the impact of the Visit Winchester brand and allow the Centre to create a better welcome for the visitors, local event goers and businesses who use it as an orientation point for planning a visit and accessing Council Services. Early ideas include making the most of new, space-saving digital technology; providing a new facility for one-to-one business advice, and making more of the Centre as a ‘hub’ for business events and consultations in the future. We have engaged with both businesses and customers to find out what they would like from the new centre and are now awaiting designs from architects before we proceed further
The new centre is due to open in Spring 2018; a skeleton information service will operate during the refurbishment works.