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VISITOR MANAGEMENT AT CANTERBURY SET TO IMPROVE

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The visitor management service provided by Canterbury City Council is fair and has promising prospects to improve, ...
The visitor management service provided by Canterbury City Council is fair and has promising prospects to improve, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

An inspection team gave the service one star because whilst visitor numbers are falling, efforts are being made to stop this decline. Also, in Whitstable, visitor numbers were increasing prior to the foot and mouth outbreak and the effects of September 11.

Paul Chambers, managing inspector said:

'Although better use could have been made of the consultation results, this review will result in real improvements for the people who visit the area.'

The inspection report highlights a number of key strengths:

- High levels of satisfaction with visitor centres and park and ride facilities

- Innovative initiatives to reduce car usage; for example park and ride charges per vehicle not per passenger on the buses

However, inspectors also found weaknesses:

- The council has yet to find a permanent solution for a coach drop off point and current facilities are under used

- Visitor information centres are expensive compared to other councils

To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations, including:

- Improve signs in car parks

- Identify a permanent coach drop-off site

The visitor management review covered and examined services from different departments across the council - tourism development, tourism marketing and parking services.

Together, these services account for expenditure of £4,733,800 (including capital charges) with a gross income of£4,868,000. This gives a net income of£134,200 for 2000/01. All services are delivered directly by the council.

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