Tourism guide questioned

A NORTH Northumberland tourism association has questioned the value of a holiday guide after their survey suggested that tourist information centres (TICs) in some parts of the country don’t stock it.

Bruce Hewison, chairman of the Alnwick Tourism Association (ATA), claims that the 2010 Northumberland Holiday Guide, produced by Northumberland Tourism (NT), is being kept out of the hands of visitors in some areas, as the TICs don’t stock information from outside their area.

But Giles Ingram, NT chief executive, said that 81,583 of a promised 85,000 guides were distributed with 100,000 printed initially in case there was unusual demand.

After six months, it became clear that the extra guides were unlikely to be required, but funding cuts from One North East meant NT were unable to increase promotion of the guide and stimulate additional demand.

He said: “Independent conversion research showed that 52 per cent of people who used the guide subsequently booked a holiday in Northumberland.

“Our public funders received an excellent return on their investment too. The overall benefit to the county from the holiday guide can be calculated at £2,896,344 extra spend by visitors, or £39.91 return for every £1 invested in the guide.”

The ATA survey, carried out as members pay for adverts in the guide, could only account for about half of the guides sent to other areas being used and Mr Hewison questioned if the guide is an effective way to market the county.