A NEW strategic partnership launched this week will have a major impact on the ‘welcome’ awaiting visitors to Chester.
An agreement between Chester City Council and local tourism board, Visit Chester & Cheshire, will build on the achievements of both organisations in attracting and welcoming visitors to the city centre.
VCC will take over and develop those services that focus on visitor information and support, including management of the Town Hall Tourist Information Centre.
The TIC team of nine will be seconded to VCC along with three members of the city council’s marketing team.
“With so much at stake for the city’s future prosperity, it makes good sense to ensure that the efforts of both organisations are complementary with minimal duplication,” said VCC Chief Executive Chris Brown.
“This agreement will see a valuable integration of VCC’s work in attracting visitors to Chester, and the council’s work in providing ‘welcome’ services and information when they get here. It will also create opportunities for major improvements and innovations, specifically in the area of ICT.” he added.
Plans include working more closely with stakeholders – including bus and taxi drivers, retailers, tourism operators and providers – and making greater use of information technologies that enable visitors to access information by mobile phone and other channels and also upgrading the current TIC of the town hall.
Executive Member for Development Cllr Stuart Parker believes the new arrangements provide foundations for a welcome service that can be rolled out throughout the new West Cheshire area.
“Tapping into VCC’s proven expertise makes good sense for the council, for its ratepayers and for the visitor economy as a whole,” he said.
“It’s clearly the right time to develop this natural partnership and take our efforts to a new level, delivering a world-class welcome to visitors at every stage of their experience from planning their trip, to their journey home,” he added.
Chester City Council Managing Director Chris Hardy added: “Working together, we’ve already achieved a great deal in getting more people to come to Chester, to stay longer, to see and do more, spend more and return.”