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September festival sales help boost St Ives TIC income

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

St Ives' Visitor Information Centre staff, employees and volunteers, have made a major contribution to its success. Colin Sanger.

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ST IVES' Visitor Centre is celebrating its second successful summer after being taken over by St Ives Town Council last year.

The town decided to take over the highly regarded VIC after Cornwall Council cuts meant it faced closure.

The centre doesn't just advise tourists but also takes bookings for accommodation and events in the town.

It has recently been particularly busy selling tickets for the St Ives September Festival, including the sold-out Kate Rusby show and near sell-outs Billy Bragg and The Fisherman's Friends.

Mayor of St Ives, Councillor Ron Tulley, said: "It's going very well. Sales figures are very positive and we have a high footfall. We're doing a lot of business and providing a valuable service for the town."

The VIC is run by a combination of paid staff and volunteers from the town.

A report prepared for councillors said staff costs had been higher than budgeted due to increased workload with September Festival ticket sales and less volunteer hours worked than estimated.

It said membership fees and advertising brought in the £15,000 expected and although accommodation bookings have been down, commission on ticket sales has increased on last year following the arrival of a new ticketing system.

Town clerk Louise Dowe said: "Income from sales is healthy and around the amount budgeted. The new left luggage facility has generated income and has been a service welcomed by day visitors to the town and those who arrive in the morning and need somewhere for their luggage until they can check in to where they are staying."

The VIC may develop its box office systems further to take on ticket sales for more events next year.

Other improvements are planned on phone and IT systems while there are also plans for a calendar option on the VIC website to make accommodation searches easier.

Discussions are now ongoing about shorter opening hours during the quieter winter months but the future of the VIC looks assured.

Louise Dowe said: "A committee meeting will be held on Tuesday to consider winter opening and the work that will need to be carried out over the winter period in order to get set up ready for the 2013 season."

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