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New guide book ready to promote Dartmouth

DARTMOUTH is taking off its covers and dusting itself down in readiness for another season.
At the heart of the operation is the town’s Tourist Information Centre where facts, figures and friendly faces await everyone who steps over the threshold wanting to discover Dartmouth.
Mayor Cllr Rob Lyon described the busy centre as the town’s ‘front door that was always open’ at the launch of this year’s guide.
‘We have had a rough ride over the last couple of years with internet sites but we must support the TIC and its volunteers, directors and link organisations for all they do for the whole of Dartmouth,’ he said.
Staff, supporters and friends gathered at the Flavel last Tuesday to hear a review of TIC activities during 2014 and an outline of what is promised during the year ahead.
Presentations were given by Peter Bailey, chairman of the Dart­mouth Business Forum, and Francesca Johnson, manager of Dart­mouth Busin­ess Improve­ment District.
TIC managers Lesley Turner and Sue Stone gave reports on activities, visitor numbers and working with other organisations.
Following last year’s success of the cruise team, they said the centre was particularly pleased to be working with Tricia Daniels from the harbour authority on welcoming six cruise ships to the port this year, including the Hebrid­ean Princess which was returning to Dartmouth after an absence of four years.
TIC chairman Angie Cairns-Sharp said afterwards: ‘I was quite overwhelmed by the tremendous, positive response we received at the TIC new brochure launch on the critical service that our small dedicated team of just one full-time and three part-time members of staff together with our team of wonderful unpaid volunteers, provide for the town and its surrounding area.
‘The statistics clearly demonstrate there is an ever-increasing demand for this precious resource, which staggeringly now has a total in excess of 415,000 visitors per year across all of the channels it provides.
‘There has already been a huge demand for the new brochure, plus the telephones at the centre have not stopped ringing and I know as a result of people now receiving them, many bookings have already been made.
‘Inviting the mayor, business forum and BID as our guest speakers at the event appears to have been especially successful, as apparently together we convincingly demonstrated how we are now all effectively working together and collaborating on almost a daily basis and it is this refreshing new town team approach that has been so enthusiastically received by the audience and so positively commented upon.
‘I am sure we can collectively continue to channel our efforts in moving forward together constructively and that this will prove to be an exciting time for the whole town as we start to reap the benefits.’
Statistics presented to the evening showed that Dartmouth TIC received 143,000 visitors last year compared to 115,000 in 2013.
Staff sold over 3,000 tickets for Britannia Royal Naval College tours, Dartmouth attractions, festivals and events and more than 30,000 attractions, subscribers and local interest leaflets were collected from the TIC throughout the season.
Some 45,000 Discover Dartmouth brochures and shopping guides were distributed locally and nationally last year and the centre received over 4,600 telephone calls and 3,000 email inquiries.
Subscriptions so far for the 2015 brochure stand at £90,500.
Since the introduction of the mobile website, visits grew by 25 per cent during September to December 2014, compared to the same period 2013.
The TIC programme for 2015 aims to:
* Increase the number of subscribers by 10 per cent.
* Continue working with the BID marketing team and other Dart­mouth town organisations.
* Build on marketing the town as an attraction, retail and food all-year-round destination.
* Enhance the image of the TIC to reflect the new Dart­mouth Every Time brand.
* Secure funding to improve the layout of the TIC.
* Build on the Welcome to Excellence training programme in the TIC and on its existing in-house training programme.

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