Anger at council tourist info cuts across Rother

Alastair Hazell at the Bexhill Lions Triathlon 2014 SUS-140930-103808001
Alastair Hazell at the Bexhill Lions Triathlon 2014 SUS-140930-103808001

Bexhill entrepreneur Alastair Hazell has expressed concerns after the council announced its plans not to have a Tourist Information Centre anywhere in Rother.

Alastair said he is “extremely disappointed” by Rother District Council’s (RDC) decision to end the presence of a Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Rye, thus ending the support provided to Bexhill. “This cut in services comes three quarters of the way through a year in which I have personally invested over £15,000 in events and promotion of Bexhill. I’m therefore understandably concerned about the message that this is sending out and the commitment that our Council is putting towards support Bexhill’s visitor economy.”

RDC say that changes had to be made after the tourism budget was slashed from £65,000 to £30,000. The tourism service tender has been awarded to a brochure delivery company based over 100 miles away and includes Tourist Information Points (TIP) in Bexhill, Battle and Rye, along with a number of Local Information Points. However, Alastair, founder of the Discover Bexhill website which had 250,000 visits in the last twelve months and 450 online accommodation bookings (excluding telephone bookings), says this isn’t good enough. “Discover Bexhill independently continues to support Bexhill’s tourism and visitor economy to the tune of more than £100k-a-year, whilst also raising money to support local events and causes. An important aspect of the website is the capability for people to quickly email or telephone our TIC with any pre-visit enquiries.

“You don’t need me to tell you what a bad impression it will give to potential visitors when there is no-one to provide this information. Do we really want them to visit? Are we really bothered about them? The message we are sending out says no.”