Paignton bookshop to promote English Riviera
A PAIGNTON business has volunteered to become a new visitor information centre for the town.
The English Riviera Tourism Company's second new Visitor Information Point to be hosted by a local business has opened at the Torbay Bookshop in Paignton, which is run by businessman Matthew Clarke.
The new VIP was launched in response to a 'call out' the tourism company made recently for local businesses to step in and help host the vital tourism services at risk following major cuts to the tourism budget. It will be fully operational by Easter.
Carolyn Custerson, chief executive of the ERTC, said: "We are delighted there is no break in service once the existing site next to the Apollo cinema closes at Easter.
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"We would like to thank Matthew Clarke, chairman of the Paignton BID, and his wife, Sarah, for their hard work.
"We have been really pleased with the response to the 'call out' as we urgently needed to replace those being lost due to tourism budget cuts.
"The industry has been fantastic and we've received offers of locations from across the resort, all of which will be explored. The first priority had to be Paignton due to the imminent closure of their existing service, but other VIPs will quickly follow."
Mr Clarke said: "The Torbay Bookshop in Paignton has always had an excellent reputation for its variety of local titles, cards, postcards and related gifts, making it an obvious choice to include the official VIP to provide a year-round service for visitors and residents alike.
"When fully up and running, customers will be able to book their theatre seats, attraction tickets, coach trips and purchase council car parking passes, as well as picking up free information and brochures. "
The tourism company envisages as many as three VIPs across Paignton. A new seafront site is proposed and should be ready in time for the main summer season.
New VIPS have to be open all year, improving the availability of information service as the old sites were only open for the season.
The sites are managed by the individual businesses and receive no payment from the ERTC.
They display official information produced by the ERTC. Providing ticket sales for theatre, coach and boat trips is optional.
In addition to the Torbay Bookshop, Hob Nobbs in Brixham, owned by Sarah and Simon James, will continue as a VIP from Easter.
ERTC staff who were previously located at Brixham are now based in Torquay at the year-round English Riviera Visitor Information Centre on Vaughan Parade.
Also in Torquay, a new VIP at Dot's Pantry in Union Street will be opening soon managed by John and Dot Doherty. John is chairman of the Torquay Retail Group.