Changes To TIC Opening Hours Could Lead To Staff Leaving

The TIC will open later in Summer.

The TIC will open later in Summer.

Scilly’s Tourist Information Centre could lose staff members if changes to the opening hours are implemented this winter.

That was the fear expressed by councillors at the Planning meeting yesterday, where Economic Development Officer Julian Pearce explained that the TIC will only be open from 10am to 2pm on weekdays from January to March.

There’ll be additional phone cover from 2pm to 5pm.

Last winter, it opened from 9am to 5pm on weekdays and on Saturday mornings.

Julian says the Islands’ Partnership felt the changes were reasonable but expressed concern that no one would be available to take calls on Saturdays. The Partnership is planning a big marketing drive for the New Year.

In summer, Julian says they’ll actually extend the opening hours from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

This would get around some of the issues that occurred over the summer, when volunteers were drafted in to man the centre in the evenings.

They’ll still need volunteers to keep the facility open from 2pm to 5pm on Sundays.

But Cllr Fran Grottick said she’s worried that staff will now effectively see their jobs as seasonal.

She hopes the Authority won’t lose valuable workers and asked if they could be relocated to other jobs during this period.

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough said the TIC staff and volunteers had done a good job, but felt it was “morally wrong” to use volunteers to keep an essential service open.

Councillors approved the changes although these will still need to go to staff for consultation.

Figures presented to members showed that the TIC dealt with over 47,000 face-to-face enquiries this year, with feedback from users being broadly supportive of the relocated facility.

The number of phone enquiries in July and August has increased, which Julian put down to more last minute booking.

But councillors called for more signage directing people to the new TIC.

Julian says he’s already identified two potential sites and is talking to the Director of Place, Craig Dryden, about how to proceed.

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