Councillors back temporary TIC
PUBLISHED: 13:20 05 May 2014
Proposals for a permanent Exmouth tourism officer were kicked into the long grass on Monday after town councillors balked at the £17,400 annual price tag.
Last November, the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Travelworld closed, leaving Exmouth with no TIC.
Councillors have backed a stop-gap, volunteer-run temporary tourist information hut in The Strand. But it would need to be secure, fixed to the ground and probably need planning permission.
With the Exmouth festival in three weeks and a summer of events including the National Lifesaving Championships and the Tour of Britain, the town hall has little time.
Up to now, the town hall staff has helped fill the void, but they will stop giving out information this week.
Former mayor Darryl Nicholas spent three months talking to businesses and community groups and he proposes a tourism officer, beach hut and a delivery board.
The chairman of the finance committee, Councillor David Chapman, said there is some money and deputy mayor Bill Nash said: “We need to discuss this in the short term. Volunteers will have to be found and it will need to be put together pretty quickly, but at least we will have premises, literature and someone around.”
Councillor Sandy MacQueen said: “With all the groups and organisations in Exmouth we should be able to get volunteers.”
Councillor Eileen Wragg raised concerns about security while Councillor Pauline Stott said: “The town council is not here to support businesses with taxpayers’ money; we have 630 businesses – what about the rest?”
Mr Nicholas said: “The view coming through loud and clear from local people is that they want Exmouth Town Council to make tourism a high priority.
“It will be extremely difficult to get the best for the town without having someone on the ground, and without a group overseeing the longer term strategy for how both the traditional and digital sides of our tourism offer will develop.
“This is why my major recommendations are for the town council to strongly consider hiring a tourism officer, and to help establish a Tourism Delivery Board.
“This is an opportunity for them to show real leadership on this crucial issue, and to respond swiftly to the wishes of local residents.”