The Town Council is reviewing the way that it supports visitor information services and tourism in Totnes, including the Totnes Information Centre (TIC).
We commissioned a report last year by a tourism consultant which examined what we are providing now and made recommendations as to how we could increase our effectiveness. This report is available on our website.
We recognise that tourism is vitally important to the Totnes area. Official estimates for 2014 show that, annually, we have:
27,000 staying visitor trips
438,000 day visits
£22m total visitor related spend
490 actual jobs supported by visitor related spend
However, the statistics also indicate that only 9% of visitors to Totnes use the TIC so we need to improve the cost-effectiveness of this service. Technology is changing: we need to respond to the increased use of the internet and social media as sources of information both to attract visitors and to provide information when they get here. We need to consider how we can update the service to deliver information in a different way whilst also recognising the importance of the personal touch.
One of the key recommendations of our report was that we form a partnership with local businesses and tourism providers to promote Totnes as a destination, raising the profile of the area to tourists and improving the infrastructure to support this. We have had initial meetings which have drawn a range of prospective partners, including: Totnes Chamber of Commerce, Dartington, Totnes Market Traders, South Devon Railway, Dartmouth River Boats, Sharpham, River Dart Navigation Authority, English Heritage, Visit South Devon and Totnes Pound. The response has been very positive and we are in the process of setting up Terms of Reference for how we will work together and what we can offer our local businesses.
We recognise that the TIC is also a key source of information for local residents and that this is a much-loved service. Discussion will therefore be held about how we will continue to provide this, either through the Town Council or by working with other organisations.