8:45 AM January 22, 2022
Tourism leaders are pushing to bring a new generation of visitors to the region as the city emerges from the pandemic.
Norwich is a hotspot for tourists far and wide, bringing millions of pounds in revenue to the city each year.
But the city’s tourist information centre closed to the public during lockdown prompting anger form many.
Marianne Charlesworth has lived in the Old Catton area of Norwich for almost a quarter of a decade, and believe the centre should return.
“I was absolutely aghast when it closed,” she said. “I felt that at a time when Norwich needed promotion more than any time in the last few decades, the council chose to close it.
“It’s been mulling over in my mind and I’m someone who visited the tourist office on a very regular basis. And I really miss it.
“That area where it used to be has stood empty ever since and looks absolutely desolate at the front of the Forum.
“It doesn’t have to be bells and whistles but it needs to be there so people can access this information.”
Bishy Barney Boats owner Mark Appel said: “Anyone who’s in tourism will say that it’s important that tourists find the activity.
“But is the tourist information centre would be an outdated facility? A quick internet search probably gives your average tourist all the information they would want but I can see it from both sides.”
Chris Scargill, tourism and leisure specialist for Larking Gowen, billed Norwich as an “attractive” tourist destination, noting that most would research their trip to the fine city in advance.
He added: “Although we want to maximise people’s enjoyment of the city, we’ve got to get them here first. And that’s probably where the spend is going at the moment, that’s the bigger picture.
“You’ve got to plant that seed. Tourist information is a very useful tool but I’m a great believer in collaboration both from destination organisations and the businesses.
“There’s been a lot of work done to promote the whole region through wider advertising online and a significant social media presence. All of which highlighted exactly where we are, and we need to make sure that we’re competing.”
Norwich City Council, which ran the tourist information centre, refuse to comment.