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Ashby Tourist Information Centre Gateway to The National Forest

Friday, 17th August 2007

Ashby Tourist Information Centre Gateway to The National Forest

Ashby de la Zouch Tourist Information Centre (TIC) has undergone a major makeover and was officially launched as a ‘gateway’ to The National Forest yesterday.

North West Leicestershire District Council’s Deputy Chairman Councillor Alison Smith; East Midlands Tourism’s Investment Manager, Nicola Rollason and Chief Executive of National Forest Company, Sophie Churchill jointly opened the new Forest-themed centre.

With a fantastic Forest backdrop, the new facilities within the TIC include information panels and an innovative touchscreen for visitors to find out more about the wider Forest and plan their visit to this ‘forest in the making’.

The development is part of the National Forest’s Visitor Infrastructure Project, funded by East Midlands Tourism. Richard Dickinson, Chief Executive of East Midlands Tourism commented: “Because The National Forest offers visitors such a diverse range of activities and attractions it is really important that the right signposting and information is in place to enable them to get the most out of their visit. With the introduction of these new facilities the experience for visitors will be enhanced and there will be many more opportunities to encourage even more people to explore all that the forest has to offer.” The Tourist Information Centre will help visitors to get the most out of their visit to The National Forest by providing all the latest information on local events and exciting ideas for places to visit; suggesting where to eat including country pubs, restaurants and tea rooms; supplying leaflets and packs for walking and cycling; giving local shopping information and booking accommodation for visitors.

The centre, which has wheelchair friendly facilities with hearing loop provision, also acts as a ticket agent for local theatres, events & festivals, Open Top Bus Tours and day trips with local coach operators.

With EMT’s support, the National Forest Company is working with the tourism businesses and Leicester-based award winning tourism designers, Haley Sharpe, to install the innovative information points for visitors. These will place the venue firmly in the Forest and highlight other attractions available to visitors while they are here.

Other sites that will feature new facilities as part of the wider Visitor Infrastructure Project include Conkers, Twycross Zoo, Beacon Hill Country Park, Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts, Sence Valley Forest Park, Snibston Discovery Park, Foremark, Staunton Harold and Thornton Reservoirs, Rosliston Forestry Centre and the National Forest Youth Hostel. Information points will also be installed within key laybys on access routes into the Forest and the service areas MOTO Donington Park (A42/M1) and Welcome Break Leicester Forest East (M1).

These information points range from shelters, panels and benches, to listening posts and touchscreen kiosks and will be installed throughout the 200 square mile Forest. The project will help visitors make the most of the wealth of things to see and do in the Forest and provide a ‘sense of place’ to the whole destination.

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company said: “Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company said: ‘As The National Forest gets more and more visible, to both visitors and residents, more people are enjoying all its many and varied attractions. I was delighted to hear at the opening that visitors are using the Tourism Information Centre because they are here for the week and are making a real holiday in the centre of England. Whatever the weather, The National Forest is a base for younger and older people to find quiet relaxation or a bit of an adventure’.

The work across all venues is due to be completed by March 2008. In the meantime, visitors can find more information on the huge choice of things to do and see in the Forest or places to stay for a brilliant weekend break by contacting the National Forest Company on 01283 551211 or logging onto the website www.nationalforest.org

Supported by East Midlands Tourism