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Window On Wigan - Tourism Top Shop Comes To Town
Sunday 23rd January, 2005

Window On Wigan - Tourism Top Shop Comes To Town
New Look: Artist's Impression of the Wigan TIC

From Spring 2005 tourism is going to be the centre of attention in Wigan when it's given its own prime location.The Tourist Information Centre (TIC) has been looking for a new home for a number of years. And now managers are confident that they have found the right venue with an exciting shop-front development on Wallgate.

The move coincides with the redevelopment of the Trencherfield Mill site where the TIC is located at present. From next Spring the Mill will form part of the regeneration of the area from a heritage attraction to a wider cultural quarter. The TIC is part of a national tourist information network and will be relocated to Wallgate just opposite Wigan North Western Station. Tourism chiefs in the borough are confident that the new site will bring the opportunity to expand and improve the service.

Wigan's Tourism Development Manager Keith Bergman said: "There is increasing competition from virtual and high street sources of information.

"It is important for TICs to become financially self-sustaining by providing modern services.

"To do this we must be in the town centre where there are more people and we are closer to popular shopping centres and the railway and bus stations."Once open, the centre will provide a range of new services, including the country's first ever e-tourism centre. Visitors to the centre will be able to get their hands on all the information they need about where to stay in the borough, events and places to eat and drink. Tourism students will be able to look at reports, industry statistics and careers' information.

While leisure and tourism managers will be able to get the low down on information to help them with decision making, planning and investment.
Mr Bergman said: "We will be investing in the technology, staff and facilities in order to provide an upgraded service to the fast-growing number of town centre visitors. We will also be in a better position to support new developments such as the Pier Quarter and existing local attractions like Haigh Hall, Pennington Flash and the JJB."

He added: "The centre will be contemporary in both its look and the services it provides. It is a very exciting development and it is groundbreaking not just for Wigan but for the entire region."

The new TIC will have a greater emphasis on generating its own income by providing a local, regional and national event ticket office. It will sell locally produced goods and also be a one-stop travel shop selling everything from maps and guidebooks to travel plugs and irons. The centre will provide a travel agency specialising in short breaks and coach and rail travel. The TIC will also include a broker service for the borough's hotel and conference trade.

Chief Executive of Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust Rodney Hill said: "The new TIC is just one element of the borough's planned cultural investment. Once it opens we should see other developments start to take shape such as the Wigan Pier Quarter with its new hotel, visitor attractions, restaurant, pub and a fantastic new performance venue.

"There will be the opening of the Grand Arcade shopping centre, the wonderful facilities at Leigh Sports Village and the new developments at Robin Park. "Wigan TIC needs to be strengthened in order to support these developments today and tomorrow."

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