Tourists greeted by words of wisdom: David Nicholson-Lord reports on a scheme that helps visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon
Annabel Cole hopes to change that. Arrive at Stratford railway station today and Annabel, Becky and Nicky, sporting yellow-and- green uniforms, will, in the nicest possible way, accost you.
Stratford's visitor information persons - VIPs - or 'ground hostesses', are the latest answer to the tide of tourism washing over Britain's historic towns.
In 1852, 2,321 people visited Shakespeare's birthplace; last year there were 2.5 million. Given growing affluence and leisure time, there is no reason, says Maureen Hicks, director of the visitor management project, why numbers should stop rising. The English Historic Towns Forum recently warned that many places were struggling with pollution and congestion. In 1992, Stratford was chosen for the first national pilot project on tourist management, which is attempting to discover whom tourism benefits and if it is possible to cope with ever-rising numbers.
According to the newly published visitor survey, only one in 10 come for the theatres - and only 12 per cent cite Shakespeare as the reason for their visit. One in five, by contrast, come to shop - and 80 per cent do some shopping during their stay.
Most people also know little of what Mrs Hick calls the 'alternative Stratford' - Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried, for example. The VIPs will try to spread the load by telling people of other attractions.
- 2 Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...