Newquay's council-owned tourism centre is 'worth taxpayers' investment'
MORE than 45,000 people have made inquiries, booked accommodation or bought tickets for events through Newquay's taxpayer funded tourism office this year.
Of these, 24,000 walked through the front door of the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) on Marcus Hill, 16,000 sent e-mails, 4,500 made phone calls and 500 wrote letters.
TIC manager Susan Deakin and the town's tourism leader, Steve Kessell, revealed the statistics during a presentation to Newquay Town Council on Wednesday.
They believe the growing success of the centre, and its 'Visit Newquay' brand, justifies the annual £50,000 price tag.
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The news comes as traders and accommodation providers reportedly saw a boost in business over this year's holiday season compared to last year.
Mrs Deakin told councillors: "For us this is phenomenal and one of the best years we've ever had. Newquay is the best place for a holiday and the staff at the TIC do believe that."
The council took over the running of the centre three years ago, following uncertainty about its future, and now employs two full-time and one part-time member of staff. It also owns the VisitNewquay brand and website.
Mr Kessell, who works for the county's tourist board, VisitCornwall, but heads up VisitNewquay, said it was worth the money and the council was leading the way in boosting tourism for its town.
He told members: "A lot of what we are doing is trying to erase outdated views of Newquay. I'm proud of the town council (for stepping in to help three years ago). People could have just sat in a hole and thought Newquay has nothing to offer, but as we've proved, nothing could be further from the truth."
He said Newquay Town Council was the only one in Cornwall with a "commitment to destination and resort marketing".
Under the VisitNewquay banner, the TIC has produced a successful holiday guide for tourists, and two mobile phone 'apps' that were downloaded 2,000 times a week.
Traffic to the VisitNewquay website, which is also used by the town's Business Improvement District, has soared by 39 per cent since the start of the year, with 350,000 hits. It has also generated more than 40,000 hits for other organisations' websites, including the Lane Theatre and Boardmasters.
Mr Kessell said: "It is really delivering for event organisers and I'm sure they are very happy with what's going on. I am extremely proud of this town council and I believe members should be too. Many communities in Cornwall would be very jealous."