The closure of a tourist information centre in Stratford-upon-Avon cost the town’s main attractions about 10,000 visitors, it has been claimed.
The centre in Bancroft Gardens closed in April due to a dispute with Stratford District Council and South Warwickshire Tourism Ltd over its funding.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which runs the five properties and gardens associated with the Bard, said the closure cost the trust revenue.
Director Diana Owens said it had managed to meet visitor targets for the year, but the closure had lost it about 10,000 ticket sales. She was speaking as the trust forecast that about 750,000 visitors will have visited its properties by the end of the year.
The trust, founded in 1847, runs Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Nash’s House and New Place, Hall’s Croft, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm. Its year-to-date figures show the majority of its visitors (31 per cent) came from the UK, with 29 per cent from the US.
Ms Owens said: “We are particularly pleased that we are set to meet our visitor targets despite the closure of the Tourist Information Centres (TICs) in south Warwickshire.
“The closure of the TIC in Bancroft Gardens, the main embarkation and orientation centre for tourists arriving in Stratford, has cost us an estimated 10,000 ticket sales this year.
“We are working closely in partnership with other major attractions, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and Warwick Castle, to market the region as a tourism destination nationally and internationally.
“Our combined efforts would be stronger still with local government support. An urgent review of Stratford District Council’s policy on tourism is needed if Stratford is to regain its lead as one of Britain’s most visited towns.”
Since the closure of the tourism company, a Discover Stratford website was launched and a Tourist Information Centre, run by students, opened in the town.