Celebrations and birthday cake were in order for the team at the Wrexham Tourist Information Centre this week who were marking 25-years in operation.
Launching back in 1991, Wrexham’s Tourist Information Centre was initially based in a temporary caravan on Lambpit Street, before moving to its current home on Queens Square a year later.
In its 25 years in town, the centre has gone on to welcome well over 1.2 million visitors from all corners of the globe.
These days, the Tourist Information Centre is open Monday – Friday between 10.00am – 4.00pm and offers a wide range of services including visitor information, local souvenirs, Welsh food produce and products such as local event tickets and National Express and Arriva tickets.
Amanda Hill, Annette King and Anne Salmon have all worked in the Tourist Information Centre since the early 90’s and over that time they have developed a wide-range of knowledge about the County Borough and met quite a few unusual visitors. Speaking about her time in the centre, Amanda said: “It may sound like a cliché, but this job is so diverse as every day we welcome different visitors – some local and some from various corners of the world who may be either passing through the area or staying locally.
“We also now have regular coach companies calling to book their parties in for visits to the town for the retail and heritage offer and many visitors are also looking for ideas for days out with children in the school holidays or information about our many tourist attractions – including places like the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal World Heritage Site.
“As for our strangest question – well, we have had a couple call in to ask if they can find a suitable bed & breakfast that can also take their donkey. Nothing ever surprises us!”
As well as being well used by Wrexhamites, staff also welcome daily national and international visitors visiting North East Wales. In particular, the team meet Australian and American visitors on a weekly basis, many of whom often come to the area to visit places like the tomb of Elihu Yale in the grounds of St Giles Church and places like Erddig and Chirk Castle.
Monday is usually the busiest day of the week for the Centre with the Monday Market being situated outside – whilst the days leading up to the monthly street festivals see customers call in to book tower tours of St Giles Church.
Destination manager at Wrexham Council, Joe Bickerton, explained that while Tourist Information Centres across Wales are being closed due to cutbacks, retaining a visitor information service in the town has been important to the local authority.
Joe added: ““Tourism performance across the whole County of Wrexham has grown each year and it’s been important that we’ve retained the Tourist Information service to support this visitor experience.
“We have experienced pressure to evaluate the service in recent years, simply as the Local Authority has had to find savings – however the team have looked at new opportunities for retail such as theatre tickets and local food and we’re constantly looking at new ways of moving with the times.
“Going forward, being based in the town centre is exciting with increasing weekly footfall, a growing events programme, rising numbers of group tours visiting plus the continued investment and projects coming on line such as the Market & Arts Hub in 2018.”
Today’s birthday celebrations were conducted by Wrexham Mayor Cllr John Pritchard who thanked past & present staff for their service over the 25-years and emphasised just what a vital service the team continue to provide to Wrexham’s visitors.
He said: “With recent news that tourism is worth over £115m to our local economy, we as a local authority are aware of how vital our Tourist Information Centre staff are in promoting the local area.
“I am confident that anyone who walks through these doors gets the best possible service and the staff will do their very best to answer everything – even the most bizarre queries, such as ‘is there anywhere I can stay tonight with my donkey’, a true story I am told!
“Congratulations once again and here is to the next 25 years.”
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