Visitor information centre opens at the Tropicana

PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:30 14 June 2016

The ribbon is cut to open the new visitor centre.

The ribbon is cut to open the new visitor centre.

Archant

A tourist information centre in Weston-super-Mare has opened its doors at the Tropicana.

The centre is being run by Weston Town Council after it was offered the space rent-free by North Somerset Council.

The space at the front of the Tropicana, to the right of the Bay Café, is providing leaflets and information and selling toys and mementos.

It opened at the weekend, and the official unveiling took place on Monday.

Cllr Peter Crew, chairman of the tourism and leisure committee on the town council, said: “It is essential to have a visitor information centre in Weston.

The new visitor centre.The new visitor centre.

“Over the years, North Somerset has been brilliant at putting on events and making a wonderful vista on the seafront, but it could not market it.

“Having a base is crucial.”

The town council has been critical of the lack of visitor information available in Weston since the dedicated office was closed in 2010.

A small information point in the Winter Gardens closed in September 2015.

The new visitor centre.The new visitor centre.

The town council also ran a visitor centre in the Sovereign Shopping Centre during the summer in 2013.

Cllr Crew said the new centre would provide a base for the town’s tourists and residents to visit.

He said: “A lot of people said this was the wrong place for a centre, but over the weekend we had so many visitors in there.

“We had one resident come in this morning to see where the sand sculptures were.

The new visitor centre.The new visitor centre.

“We found that was the case before, when we had a base in the Sovereign Shopping Centre.”

Cllr Crew said around 40 per cent of visitors to its previous centre in the shopping centre were residents asking questions.

The council will be monitoring footfall into the centre, and carrying out surveys to find out what people are interested in and why they are visiting the information centre.

There are plans for a small sand sculpture to be on display inside, if it can be moved from the Bay Café intact.

Many of the fixtures and fittings have come from Weston Museum, and have been refurbished ahead of being installed.

The new centre will be open from 10.30am-5pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and 11am-5pm on Sundays.

There are two contracted staff members, and five casual staff members.

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