Tourism shake-up after cuts

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COUNCIL bosses have announced a radical shake-up of tourist information services – in the face of huge opposition.

A day after a 7,000-signature petition was handed in to Durham County Council, demanding its award-winning tourism desk be kept open, civic leaders revealed plans to close it and spread facilities elsewhere.

Durham’s branch of Soroptimists International has campaigned against closing the centre, in Millennium Place, Durham City.

However, it is not included in details of the new tourist information structure, released by the authority today.

Instead, there will be five separate information points in the city.

There will be a face-to-face service in the Gala Theatre, with other facilities at the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, Palace Green, Waterstone’s bookstore and the Town Hall.

Councillor Neil Foster said: “It is vital that we review and reshape the way in which we provide information to visitors, if we are to continue supporting the tourism industry in the face of budget reductions of more than £1million.”

He said that at present, only three per cent of visitors to County Durham call in to a tourist information centre.