Travel News: Tourist offices do disappearing act
The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel
Saturday 21 April 2007
Personal callers to national tourist offices are becoming an endangered species, while the tourist boards' websites are attracting increasing custom. As a result, the wisdom of maintaining costly office operations is being questioned.
Last month, the Scottish tourist board, VisitScotland, decamped from its Trafalgar Square base after 26 years. Visitor numbers to the office fell from 300,000 per annum a decade ago, to fewer than 50,000 last year. In contrast, VisitScotland expects 16 million hits on its website this year.
Other tourist offices, including those of Canada and the US, abandoned costly central-London premises some years ago in favour of web- and telephone-based information services. The former Tourism Queensland shopfront on the Strand in London is currently being converted into an ironmongery store.
Meanwhile, other tourist boards, including the French, Italian and Moroccan, have also refused to commit to more than a few years in fixed-address UK offices, admitting that the number of staff employed in them had diminished.
Bucking the trend, however, is the Singapore Tourism Board, which this week moved into new offices overlooking Trafalgar Square. The new address is Singapore Centre, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2 (020-7484 2710), and it will be open 9am-5pm from Monday to Friday. For those who prefer to research online, the board's website is www.visitsingapore.com.
THIS WEEK, one of the earliest travel websites, easyJet.com, celebrated its 10th birthday. The no-frills airline was a pioneer in the internet travel revolution, which helped the carrier undercut its own original promise of "making flying as affordable as a pair of jeans" by selling online rather than through call centres.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...
£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...
£24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...