No mystery we’re great with tourists

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MYSTERY shoppers have given tourist information centres (TICs) in north Northumberland the thumbs-up.

The centres have scored highly in a mystery shopping exercise, conducted annually by Visit England, to find out just how good or bad tourist information centres across the country are.

The centre in Craster is among the very best in the country, scoring an average of 95 per cent in visits carried out in April.

Only Corbridge, in the south-west of the county, scored higher with 96 per cent.

Wooler, Seahouses, and Alnwick all scored more than 90 per cent in the survey with the other centres not far behind.

On average Northumberland County Council’s TICs have improved their scores by 11.5 per cent since 2011.

The centres were assessed during an unannounced visit, the criteria for which included access, displays, external appearance, commercial awareness, staff knowledge, responsiveness and communication skills, the quality of products on offer and access to literature.

Northumberland County Council’s executive member responsible for tourism, Neil Bradbury, said: “These reports are very useful to us as they are carried out by an independent assessor, highlighting our strengths and weaknesses and offering us constructive feedback.

“The results are very pleasing and a great credit to our staff who are knowledgeable and helpful and work hard to give a high standard of service to visitors so they get the most out of their trip to the county.”