COUNCIL bosses in Ryedale may close a tourist information centre and replace it with an electronic information kiosk in a bid to save £16,000 a year.

Ryedale District Council is looking at making the changes in Helmsley after officials said the current facility at the castle visitor centre, which it pays English Heritage £20,000 a year to provide, is not bringing in enough bookings for accommodation or tourist attractions in the area.

A report which will go before the authority’s commissioning board this week said that while 103,261 people used the centre in 2011/12, only 73 accomodation bookings were made, bringing just £8,059 into the local economy.

By comparison, the Pickering tourist information centre had fewer visitors but made more than £150,000 through 825 bookings.

The report said electronic kiosks were used by other councils and, if approved, the facility in Helmsley would be in a “prominent position” in the town and available “as often as possible”.

Buying and installing it would cost £14,000 but officers said it could also bring in advertising revenue and have also recommended a wider review of Ryedale’s tourist information services, including use of social media and phone apps.