Tourism Chief enjoys full Storey

23 July 2009

Just four months after the opening of Lancaster’s new visitor centre, in the city’s historic Storey Institute, this 21st century visitor information service has received 100% score on a Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) mystery shopper ‘in-person’ visit.

Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board (LBTB), has supported the refurbishment of the centre with money from the Visitor Information Infrastructure Scheme and Mike Wilkinson, Chief Executive, visited the centre on Wednesday 22 July to congratulate the staff and to enjoy his first tour of the completed Storey Institute. His previous visit had required the wearing of a hard hat !

Each visitor information centre (VIC) is mystery shopped in person, on the phone, via email and scored on each, to provide an overall rating.  Lancaster’s VIC, which is operated by Lancaster City Council, scored an overall 97.7% which ranks it joint second in Lancashire, alongside Blackpool Central.

Mike Wilkinson, commenting on their achievement said “Lancaster’s VIC is a shining example of a modern visitor information service.  Often the first port of call for any visitor, it’s essential that the centre staff are welcoming, well-informed and able to assist with the varied needs and interests of a wide range of visitors.

Lancaster is a ‘strategic’ information centre for the County, dealing with a high volume of enquires that often relate to the whole region and come from much further afield. Mystery shoppers seldom give top scores across the board and achieving over 97% is an extraordinary achievement.”

Coun Evelyn Archer, Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for the economy, added: “This again shows the professionalism and dedication of the staff in the visitor information centres. They handle over half a million enquiries every year and their range of knowledge and skills continues to surprise me.”

The new VIC has been funded by Lancaster City Council to the tune of £60,000, the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) via LBTB (£48,000) and LBTB (£12,000).

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