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Tourism initiative gains momentum and support (23rd June 2014)

Tourism initiative gains momentum and support

A tourism initiative which developed from a challenge issued to local students is gathering huge interest and positive reaction. The British Ironwork Centre, based in Aston, challenged Walford and North Shropshire College Travel and Tourism students to devise plans to address the problems faced by Oswestry in attracting visitors to the town and surrounding areas.

One of the main issues highlighted in the students’ reports was the forthcoming reduction in hours of Oswestry’s Mile End Tourist Information Centre, which is to be closed on Wednesdays and Sundays, leaving potential visitors without information regarding the town’s attractions.

Following the competition, it was suggested that the British Ironwork Centre worked in partnership with the College to address local tourism issues, and in particular this highlighted gap in service provision.

As a result, the Centre has committed to bridge the gap through a collaboration with the College which would enable the Tourist Information Centre to remain open to customers on a full time basis. The Centre would cover all costs associated with staffing the project, using its Heritage Ambassador trained team members and through the creation of a work experience programme for the Travel and Tourism students.

The project would benefit the local tourism economy and its businesses as service continuity would be guaranteed for Tourist Information Centre customers, with the students gaining valuable, real-life work experience enabling them to apply their theoretical knowledge and develop new skills at a convenient location.

Clive Knowles, Chairman of the Centre, spoke live on air following an invitation from Radio Shropshire alongside the College’s Travel and Tourism tutor, Louise Gregory, and a number of the students who took part in the Travel and Tourism competition.

Mr Knowles said “Everyone was extremely positive about the initiative and could see clearly how it might benefit the community and local tourism. We are now looking into meeting with Shropshire Council to start putting our plans into action swiftly – it is crucial to capitalise on the summer season to ensure that Oswestry doesn’t lose out to other Shropshire towns.”

“This project really demonstrates what can be achieved between the community, the business sector and the council when ideas, efforts and resources are shared.”