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Teignmouth falls short on tourist information, claims councillor

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 03, 2016

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Andy Uglow, Pyramid Torbay Photography

Cllr Alison Eden at the proposed new Tourist Information Centre in Teignmouth.

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CALLS have been made for the return of a dedicated tourist information centre for Teignmouth.

Teignmouth Tourist Information Centre, which was run by paid staff, closed earlier this year after 80 years. The iconic seaside building is now home to an ice cream business.

There is a new information point in the Pavilions but a Teignmouth district councillor has raised concerns about a lack of information for tourists in the town.

Cllr Alison Eden has suggested that residents of Teignmouth come forward and share their ideas about a new location for the centre.

However, Teignbridge District Council says budget considerations must be considered, and they are one of few district councils in the South West to support tourist information centres.

Cllr Alison Eden said: "It seems very straightforward to me, it really isn't rocket science. We need a branded place where people know that they can go to find out silly things like where the toilets are, it's not all about brochures and ideas for days out.

"A tourist information centre is a physical symbol that a town is welcoming to tourists and locals alike who may have different needs, and it should be somewhere where everyone, whether they are local or not, can come to find information about the town.

"It should be a place where staff have been trained to give information to people who may have different needs.

"I understand that we need to be practical about this. We would need to consider how many hours or days a tourist information centre could be opened in Teignmouth, but my impression is that no one has said that the new set-up is working brilliantly, so it can't be working brilliantly.

"Budgets are agonised over so much at the council, but I think it's time to rethink the priorities.

"There are a lot of empty premises in the town, so maybe come summer we could explore having a pop-up tourist information centre. There are a lot of clever people in Teignmouth, and I'm keen to hear their suggestions about another place we could have a tourist information centre.

"Christina Siviter, from the Teign Heritage Centre, has suggested putting the tourist information centre in the resort office, which I think is an amazing idea."

Cllr Doug Hellier-Laing, Teignbridge District Council's executive member for economy, tourism and skills, said: "Teignbridge is one of the few remaining district councils in the South West to still support Tourist Information Centres.

"Changes in the way visitors get their information combined with budget pressures mean that we have to look for different ways of doing things.

"However, we recognise that tourist information points in tourism resorts still play an important part in visitors' overall enjoyment of an area. Teignbridge supports tourism in other ways too including funding Visit South Devon.

"Teignbridge has an agreement with Pavilions Teignmouth to provide an Information Point where people can get friendly and professional advice about where to go and what to do. We continue to work with the Pavilions to improve what's offered through the Information Point."

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