Bury St Edmunds: Ambassadors plan in bid to boost tourism
14:46 29 August 2014
A business group is hoping to introduce “tourism ambassadors” in Bury St Edmunds town centre to enhance the current tourist information service.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds Business Improvement District (BID) group, said he took inspiration for the idea from Norwich where volunteers perform this role.
The Bury initiative – which will be a key part of BID’s forthcoming business plan – would involve volunteers wearing branded clothing and offering information to make visitors as welcome as possible.
Mr Cordell said he came up with the idea before St Edmundsbury Borough Council shut the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) on Angel Hill, but added the closure had made this initiative more relevant.
He said: “It’s about promoting the town and providing a service in that regard, and even with the TIC here we would have still done this. The BID has always been about providing additionality.”
He added: “It’s important we look after people. It’s no different to a business. You have to look after your customers so people come back.”
He said the initiative depended on whether BID gets re-elected in November. He said it was very early stages, but the plan would be to have tourism ambassadors at key locations around the town centre on certain days.
Councillor Sarah Stamp, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, described Ourburystedmunds’ plan for tourism ambassadors as a “fantastic idea”, adding she was keen to support them in delivering this. “Visitors contribute so much to our local economy and everyone with an interest in the town should be working together to make sure we offer them the warmest possible welcome.”
Following the closure of Angel Hill TIC, the main centre for tourist information is at the Apex, with other tourist information points at various locations.
The Bury Society felt it was too early to comment on the plans for tourism ambassadors.