Despite tourism boom, council cuts £66,000 information centre from budget
PUBLISHED: 13:16 21 December 2016 | UPDATED: 13:16 21 December 2016
Gravesham council says it is ‘reshaping’ tourism services
News that Gravesham was part of a tourism boom in the county has been followed up with cuts in the borough’s budget.
Last month Visit Kent revealed how nearly 2million people had visited Gravesend in 2015, making up around 3 per cent of Kent’s figures overall.
Speaking after the news, Visit Kent’s chief executive Sandra Matthews-Marsh praised Gravesham’s success, but warned: “This is not the time to be complacent. We must continue to invest in this successful strategy if Kent is to stay on top.”
Now Gravesham council has announced plans to close Gravesend’s visitor information centre, in a bid to save £66,000.
Councillor Jordan Meade, who himself applauded the borough’s “hardworking tourism team” on his Facebook page, announced the cuts.
The 21-year-old councillor said: “These changes are part of the savings we have to make due to reductions in government support grants.
“Steps are being taken to explore how this re-shaping of our tourism service can be more responsive to visitor needs and we value and thank everyone for their patience at this time of transition.”
Staff from the centre, which is based in St George’s Square, Gravesend, will be transferred to the council’s customer service team, ahead of a new, reduced service running from the town’s recently refurbished borough market.
Starting in February, the service will be available from Thursday to Sunday each week.
Cllr Meade added: “The visitor economy is important to us here in Gravesham and the volume and value of visitor activity is increasing. These steps by the council, within the context of its reduced financial resources, will help to ensure that the area continues to welcome and offer a service to visitors.”