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New tourism service will operate from multiple centres on island
PORTLAND Tourist Information Centre will be replaced by privately-run ‘information points’.
In a bid to make savings Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is looking at options for the future of the service. It comes after the Weymouth TIC was closed earlier this year.
Nine information points have since been opened in the resort.
The borough council’s spokesman for tourism and leisure, Councillor Ian Bruce, said that the island service at the Portland Bill lighthouse was closed ‘naturally’ when it would have closed for the winter at the end of the tourist season in September.
Three people were employed there by the council on a seasonal basis.
Coun Bruce said he would like to see tourist information services on Portland run in the same way as in Weymouth.
He added: “It would be nice to see places like Portland Castle, the Chesil Beach Centre, the sailing academy, the marina and Portland Museum come forward and want to take up this opportunity.
“It’s a chance for tourist related businesses to utilise the footfall of being a tourist information point and both help the visitors and get more customers.”
Despite criticism of the Weymouth’s system of information points, Coun Bruce said it is a working solution.
“It’s just simply not true that this system isn’t working.
“There are still things that we need to do, but it is effective.
“I’m absolutely committed to having a better service at no cost, or almost no cost, to the council or the taxpayer.”
Ward councillor for Underhill Sandy West said she was ‘disappointed’ the centre had closed.
She said: “Personally I think it’s a false economy because you need a TIC to encourage people to come and spend money here.
“It’s not so bad in Weymouth because it’s a well-known place but on Portland, you don’t want people just to go to Portland Bill, you want them to go out and explore the island more.”
Su Illsley, of Fancy’s Farm, said it could cause ‘a lot of problems’ for tourist-led businesses on the island.
She added: “You need a central point where people can go to find out about visitor attractions.
“It would be good to have this service in a number of places, but you would need to have something telling people that it’s there.”
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