Tourism & Heritage Minister John Penrose MP performed the official opening ceremony for Bath’s newly refurbished Visitor Information Centre on Monday 12 March, at the start of English Tourism Week. With more than 535 000 visitors a year, the Bath Centre ranks second busiest in the country after London.
The Visitor Information Centre occupies a prime location close to the Abbey and the Roman Baths and is the first port of call for the 4.5 million who come each year. Tourism contributes over £357 million to the local economy of Bath and North East Somerset, providing more than 8000 jobs and 10 per cent of the total employment in the city.
The team of ten staff who work in the Visitor Information Centre will meet Mr Penrose before he cuts the ribbon and unveils a plaque to mark the occasion. During his visit to Bath he will be hosted by Mary Lynch, Chair of Bath Tourism Plus and Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Executive and will be joined by local MP Don Foster. He will also be taken to the new sport and fashion exhibition at the Fashion Museum and the newly transformed Holburne Museum.
Mr Penrose commented “English Tourism Week is all about showing people the fantastic tourist attractions available on their doorstep and encouraging them to get out and see them. Bath is a wonderful place to visit and I’d like to encourage everyone to visit their local tourism gems”.
The new-look Centre now houses the Bath Box Office and the Visitor Information Centre under one roof, providing a one stop-shop for visitors and residents to buy tickets for the many festivals and events, tours and attractions in Bath as well as displaying visitor information and offering a booking service for accommodation.
Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus said: “we are delighted to see the completion of the new-look Visitor Information Centre and are proud of the welcome that our staff give to visitors to the Bath. This smart new facility is the face of tourism in Bath and now reflects the quality of what’s on offer in the city”.
Bath has been singled out by VisitEngland as one of 14 key destinations in the entire country to showcase what makes England a great place to visit. Bath is involved with many of the exciting UK events planned for 2012 with Olympic athletes training in the city; plans for the Torch Relay, the Cultural Olympiad and celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The Visitor Information Centre is operated by Bath Tourism Plus, the official Destination Marketing Organisation for Bath and the surrounding area.