VISITORS to Portland will be better informed after a new tourist centre opened.

The Heights Hotel, which commands breathtaking views of Chesil Beach is hosting the new Isle of Portland visitor information centre.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax unveiled a commemorative plaque watched by guests at an official opening ceremony.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council was awarded a one-off financial contribution of £4,472 to help with the creation of the new facility.

The council closed the TIC at Portland Bill lighthouse last year as part of budget cuts and started looking for ways tourist information could be provided in association with businesses. Weymouth TIC at the Pavilion was also controversially closed as part of the cuts. Information points have sprung up to try and fill the gap.

The council’s management committee chairman Cllr Mike Byatt said: “I’m glad we’ve been able to work with a great local business like the Portland Heights Hotel to make sure visitors carry on getting a good service.

“It is a mutually beneficial arrangement, that fundamentally is great news for visitors and the borough.” The new visitor centre will have information about local attractions, details of events and shows, public transport information, gifts and souvenirs plus an on-site coffee shop and free car parking.

Mike Deadman, Visitor Information Project Assistant at the Portland Heights Hotel, said: “Portland is a fantastic place to visit. If you are looking for the best views around or somewhere to go, people like to know what there is to do.”

Work is also ongoing between local businesses and the borough council to provide long-term visitor information in Weymouth. Interim arrangements for tourist information points have been set up.