Pubs to become mini tourist information centres in new pilot scheme

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Tourism

The Wheatsheaf pub in Baslow, Derbyshire, is one of eight pubs which will now offer tourist information centre services as part of a new pilot scheme in the county and the Peak District area
The Wheatsheaf pub in Baslow, Derbyshire, is one of eight pubs which will now offer tourist information centre services as part of a new pilot scheme in the county and the Peak District area
Eight pubs in the Peak District & Derbyshire are to offer tourist information centre services as a pilot scheme is launched which will see visitor information points installed in bars across the area.

The scheme is a partnership between local pubs and the area's official tourist board, Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, and has been welcomed by the Government and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) which has said it hopes more similar projects will follow in the future.

Offering tourist information is the latest development for pubs which have been diversifying in recent years as the industry has increasingly offered restaurant or hotel-style services and moved into a traditional community role alongside its core business of serving drinks.

VIPs

The pilot scheme was launched at The Wheatsheaf pub and hotel in Baslow, Derbyshire, on Friday and will see pub visitors able to pick up leaflets and brochures on places and events to experience in the area.

All eight pubs will effectively operate as a mini tourist information centre and will be flagged up as such by the local tourism board which will be updating the Visitor Information Points (VIPs) free of charge and providing a tourist information sign for each pub to display outside the venue.

The BBPA will be picking up the bill for the materials involved in the scheme.

"I hope this scheme is the first of many," Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA said. "With pubs open in the evening, it’s a great way to ensure ‘extended hours’ for tourist information. Pubs are already right at the heart of tourism in Britain, and this sort of scheme will help us to make the most if it."

Double benefit

The Peak District area currently attracts 35m visitors a year and David James, chief executive of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire, said the scheme would allow pubs to gain more of an advantage from the tourists in the area.

"Not only will the pubs benefit, by being placed right at the heart of the local tourism offer, plus the opportunity to be promoted on tourism websites and in brochures, visitors will also appreciate the convenience of having information about the area at their fingertips when they’re out sampling local food and drink," he said.

The eight pubs, which include managed and leased sites from Marston's and tenanted sites from Robinsons, are the latest boozers to turn to more innovative ways of diversifying than having an increased food or lodging offering.

A Staffordshire pub last year began selling bread and milk to survive against supermarkets​ while earlier this year BigHospitality reported pubs in Wales were being offered a slice of cash to develop 'Pub is the Hub' community services​ such as training clubs or post offices.

The Government has backed this latest scheme - tourism & heritage minister John Penrose said: "The best pubs these days provide a warm welcome and first-class hospitality for all, so it’s a great idea to combine this with up-to-the-minute advice for tourists as well."

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