Merthyr Tydfil’s growing status as an activity tourism destination is set to continue, with the county borough bucking the national trend towards closure of Tourist Information Centres.
Cuts to local authority services have meant the disappearance of many TICs across the UK in recent years. But Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council has just proudly unveiled a brand new centre at the entrance to the town’s newest and largest store.
By situating the TIC at Trago Merthyr Tydfil’s Swansea Road premises, the Council is hoping to capture a significant share of the anticipated two-and-a-half to three million annual shoppers at the store.
Trago has 23 dedicated coach bays, meaning the TIC staff will be able to provide a meet and greet service to the numerous coach parties arriving daily. Tourism guides and gifts will be available and visitors will be told about promotional offers and incentives to encourage them to visit key attractions and areas of interest.
“Our Community Regeneration Department saw an opportunity to showcase the wide range of experiences that potential visitors could encounter as part of their visit to Merthyr Tydfil,” said Council Leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill.
“By marketing other local attractions and areas, the TIC will undoubtedly significantly impact on the local and regional visitor economy and generate repeat visits to Merthyr Tydfil, and beyond, long-term.”
The Council has funded the building’s fit-out and has also allocated £95,000 towards the centre’s maintenance and staffing over the next two years.
The TIC has a reception desk, shelving units for leaflets, the latest 4K TVs showing the Council’s tourism videos, interactive computers and tablets to engage visitors and free-standing information kiosks. Three TIC advisors have been employed to open the centre from 10am-4pm seven days a week.
Discussions are being held with The College Merthyr Tydfil about the possibility of Travel and Tourism students obtaining hands-on experience of working in the sector by providing a supporting role to the TIC staff from time to time.
Locally, the Tourist Information Centre will market regional attractions which include Cyfarthfa Park, Castle & Museum, BikePark Wales, Rock UK Summit Centre, Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer, Merthyr Tydfil town centre, Parc Taf Bargoed, Brecon Mountain Railway, The Redhouse, Joseph Parry’s Cottage, Soar Theatre and Cyfarthfa Retail Park.
During the TIC plaque unveiling ceremony today (August 1, 2018), the Council’s Economic Development team launched its new Visit Merthyr website, www.visitmerthyr.co.uk and will soon be hosting Visit Merthyr social media accounts.
In conjunction with the new Tourist Information Centre, Merthyr Tydfil Business Improvement District (BID) and key partners are running a dedicated Saturday bus service between Trago, Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre, Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Village, Cyfarthfa Retail Park and Cyfarthfa Park every Saturday. Look out for the bus with its distinctive ‘Visit Merthyr’ branding running hourly with the first departure at 9am and the last bus leaves Trago at 6pm.