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Malton and Helmsley tourist information centres close to save money
12:32pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
MOVES to close two tourist information centres (TIC) in Ryedale as part of a shake-up to save district council funds, have been defended in the wake of criticism.
The council’s commissioning board, which is recommending the decision as part of a cash-saving move, is to enhance facilities at the Pickering TIC, and to expand the website and online service to tourists, said Coun Steve Arnold, the board chairman.
The plan, he said, is to have website points in Malton and Helmsley where visitors to Ryedale can access details of accommodation and attractions.
“Thornton-le-Dale has a similar arrangement, run by the National Park,” said Coun Arnold.
“It is vital that we provide information for our visitors because tourism is so important to the economy of Ryedale. We believe we can provide the facility by using modern technology and the internet.”
But the chairman of Helmsley Town Council, Chris Parkin, a leading hotelier in the popular tourist spot, said he was disappointed by the plan.
However, he believed it was an opportunity to return the town’s TIC to the Market Place because accommodation for a website point was available in the library in the town hall.
He said: “The present TIC near Helmsley Castle has not been very successful because that area of the town does not get the same level of footfall as the Market Place.
“Tourism is vital to Helmsley and ensuring our visitors are well informed and have access to information is crucial. I hope that all avenues are explored for TIC facilities in Helmsley before a final decision is made on the proposals by the council.”
A former mayor of Malton, Coun Jason FitzGerald-Smith, said he believed it was a wrong decision.
“Malton is the main service centre for Ryedale. The current TIC works well in the public library. I question whether all our visitors have access to the internet.
“In any case, people like personal service, especially when they are tourists looking for information,” he said.
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