WEYMOUTH is to get a new Tourist Information Centre after a backlash.

Council chiefs have been investigating a replacement service following concern over the closure of the office at the Pavilion, which had been relocated from a central point on the Esplanade.

The Pavilion, now under community ownership, acts as a visitor information point but Weymouth and Portland Borough Council is to establish a dedicated staffed office in conjunction with a business partner at a central point in the town centre ready for next season.

The council’s tourism and culture spokesman Cllr Rachel Rogers said she ‘didn’t think the impact of the closure of the TIC was properly appreciated’ by the council and that the lack of a central point for visitor information was a major concern among tourism providers locally.

She has been pushing the council to act after taking over as briefholder for tourism.

In a separate move, it has been confirmed that English Heritage will be hosting a tourist information point at Portland Castle next season, helping to fill the gap in island provision.

Weymouth TIC was controversially moved by the council from a prominent point on the seafront to the Pavilion in 2010, despite protests.

The office closed at the Pavilion when the council-run venue shut last year as part of budget cuts.

The council hoped that ‘information points’ run in conjunction with businesses would fill the gap in TIC provision.

But Cllr Rogers said it was clear a TIC open for longer and offering more information and face-to-face contact, was needed in the town centre.

She said: “I’m pleased to say we will be opening a TIC with a partner ready for the 2015 season. It will be in the town centre but I can’t say where.

“When the decision to shut the TIC it was part of budget cuts in 2013/14 I don’t think the impact of that decision was properly appreciated.”

Chairman of the Weymouth Hoteliers, Guesthouses & Leaseholders Association Dave Price welcomed the news.

Mr Price said: “It’s a very positive move; it’s a good step forward. We have said all along it was a mistake.

“Anything is better than what we have had to deal with over the past few years. Nearly every person who has come and stopped in our hotel can’t believe there is no tourist information point in the town.”

Dave Burchill of Weymouth who campaigned against the TIC closure said the Pavilion did good work helping visitors but it was too far for elderly people to walk after they had just come off a coach or train.

He added: “This is welcome news. But let’s see what the end result is. The new office needs to be central, not tucked away in a back street.”


VISITORS to Portland will be more in the know after it was announced Portland Castle will host a tourism information point for the 2015 season on a trial basis.
It follows the opening of a tourist office at The Heights Hotel, a joint project with the council. The fact that English Heritage will now be involved is largely down to lobbying from Martin Packer from the West Midlands who is a frequent visitor to Portland.
He said it was vital that the island had tourist information.