1066 website replaces tourist office

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Following the closure of Rye’s Tourist Information Centre in Lion Street, visitors will continue to have access to information under new arrangements being introduced next month, council chiefs have pledged.

Rother District Council has agreed a three-year deal with national brochure distribution company Brochure Connect to manage the tourist information service from April 1, 2015.

The firm will be responsible for three main tourist information points and smaller local information points across the district, and will use its distribution network to make tourism brochures available in more places. The main distribution outlets will include Rye Heritage Centre, on Strand Quay, and locations in Battle and Bexhill, where staff can assist visitors on an informal basis if required.

The Rye branch was the district’s only staffed Tourist Information Centre in Rye and closed to walk-in visitors on March 7. It will continue to handle telephone and email enquiries until Friday, March 27. After this, visitors will be directed to the 1066 Country website for information and bookings.

The changes follow a reduction in the service’s annual budget from £65,000 to £30,000, part of the wider savings the council needs to make due to cuts in central government funding.

Cllr Martin Kenward, Rother cabinet member for culture, tourism and leisure, said: “The nature of tourism has changed beyond recognition in recent years, with most people now planning their own trip online. This means there is far less demand for a staffed tourist information centre to deal with enquiries or manage bookings.

“Brochure Connect is an established company with an extensive distribution network, which it can use to increase the number of outlets for tourism brochures, while people can access a huge range of information and support on the 1066 Country website. We will also continue to provide additional funding for events across the district, which we feel is a more cost-effective way of supporting tourism in the current economic climate.”

To ease the transition to the new arrangements, Brochure Connect will continue to send out tourism guides for Bexhill, Battle and Rye on request to the public for one year from April 1, 2015.

Source: Rother District Council