Get it together

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 November 2013

I think Exmouth Town Council (ETC) and East Devon District Council (EDDC) should be ashamed of themselves.

Here we are again with another aspect of having a Tourist Information Centre (TIC) closed because the local authorities cannot get their act together with regard to promoting tourism in Exmouth.

Tourism is the mainstay of the economy in Exmouth yet it is to be neglected with the announcement from Hannah Bruford of Travelworld, saying she can no longer afford to subsidise the town’s TIC.

Hannah has made a sterling effort in attempting to keep a much-needed function going for the benefit of tourism in Exmouth but has not received any subsidy from anyone.

Every small town in Devon has a TIC, Axminster, Budleigh Salterton, Ottery St Mary to name but a few, how do they all survive running a TIC and the large town of Exmouth cannot.

This is what Ian McQueen said when the TIC in the Manor Gardens closed: “We very much regret the redundancies, and are hugely grateful to the TIC staff who have kept things going so well for so long. The huge increase in numbers of tourists using the internet, satnav and mobile phones to get the information they need, meant that a new approach to the service was essential.

“Public opinion has long been that the TIC provision should be in the centre of the town, and run during full business hours, but TICs are closing because they can’t stand alone as viable businesses. We have therefore had to look at a 21st-century solution to the problem. Housing the service within a successful tourism business was the obvious answer.”

We subsidise the buses, the trains, the charity shops in Exmouth yet we cannot keep a TIC going although other smaller towns can. Perhaps the councils would like to take over an empty shop and then subsidise themselves to run a TIC, with possibly a levy on local tourism businesses who may benefit from having a TIC.

I am not a businessman, but with a little research by talking to Hannah about how many people used the TIC in her shop since the Manor Gardens TIC closed, it will give an indication of how much the service is needed.

Ian McQueen’s comments about 21st century technology is flawed. Not every person who is on holiday in Exmouth has a device that will sell them a weekly bus pass, or direct them to a bed and breakfast

The least the local councils could do is give Hannah the same subsidy that they gave the Chamber of Commerce of £10,000 a year to offset her own costs out of her own pocket in an attempt to do her best for the people and businesses of Exmouth.

Come on, Exmouth councillors, sort it out.

Fred Caygill

Via email

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