Released on 31 March 2010 News
Stratford-on-Avon District Council set up South Warwickshire Tourism (SWT) in partnership with Warwick DC and key tourism partners in the mid 1990's. The Council is saddened to note the unilateral decision by SWT to close its tourist information service in Stratford upon Avon. SWT is a private company which has been commissioned to provide services for many years. The trading position is a matter for the Company not this Council.
The District Council's medium-term budget still includes an annual sum of £298,000 for tourism promotion and is totally committed to supporting the local economy and visitors to this wonderful town and remains committed to working with partners to provide an effective tourism service. Despite making every effort to enter into an arrangement for 2010/11 with South Warwickshire Tourism in some capacity, it seems that South Warwickshire Tourism has decided to close the TIC in Stratford-upon-Avon allegedly due to financial issues.
Stratford District Council is fully committed to tourism and will be aiming to reopen a tourist information centre in Stratford-upon-Avon as soon as possible.
The District Council refutes any suggestion that either staff or Councillors refused to attend any meetings and Council representatives met with representatives of the company on a number of occasions in the past few weeks. Stratford District Council sincerely hopes South Warwickshire Tourism overcomes its current difficulties and thanks the Company for the service it has provided for the last decade and more.
The District Council particularly is concerned for any members of staff affected by the Tourist Information Centre's closure who have worked very hard in providing a first class tourism service for the town and district.
As a general point, Stratford District Council, as custodians of public money, has a duty to tax payers to ensure money is used appropriately and without risk. For any organisation that spends public money, it must ensure that evidence is available that any other body that it funds to provide services on its behalf is a viable concern. In the absence of such evidence a public body cannot enter into a contract with money being paid 'up front'. It is the responsibility of the service provider to make available all necessary evidence. Also the District Council cannot comment on commercially sensitive issues relating to a private organisation.
South Warwickshire Tourism (SWT) was created in 1997 as a partnership company between Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwick District Council. Key private sector partners are the Royal Shakespeare Company, Warwick Castle and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The company's purpose was to promote south Warwickshire to potential tourists.
Although Stratford-on-Avon District Council was a member of the Company and nominated directors, it nevertheless was entirely independent from the District Council in its operations.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575