The Isles of Scilly Tourist Information Centre (TIC) has crowned an exceptional year in 2016 with its Highly Commended Award at the Cornwall Tourism Awards, which recognises a commitment to excellence, outstanding customer service, creative marketing and an integrated partnership approach.
It was the first time that the Tourist Information Centre, now managed by the Islands’ Partnership, had entered the awards following an upgrade and rebrand of the TIC in June. Other activity this year has included Welcome Host training for the team, joined-up marketing with the Scilly Events programme and an outreach programme that provided an additional “meet and greet” service for visitors.
As part of the Cornwall Tourism Awards’ evaluation process, the TIC had to submit a detailed, evidenced application form and also received a mystery shopper visit who, in their assessment, found the Isles of Scilly TIC to be “a great asset to the islands”, having received a “great welcome”. The team was “very open and welcoming, with big genuine smiles and a clear passion for the islands and the job”.
“The Tourist Information Centre remains an important and incredibly valued service,” notes David Jackson, Executive Director, Islands’ Partnership. “The nature of a visit to Scilly makes it unlike many other destinations. The very fact that Scilly is small (and still relatively little known) makes the need for a professional and joined-up visitor information service all the more critical in helping visitors to plan every stage of their trip. This is particularly the case when our visitors arrive on the islands, where the need for information, advice and hugely valuable local knowledge is so vital to help people simply ‘understand’ how to get around and experience the islands. The increasing level of footfall and enquiries the TIC receives is testament to this – the footfall alone representing nearly 50% of all visitors to the islands. Very few, if any, TICs in England come close to this proportion of visitor usage.”
This year, the TIC welcomed nearly 52,000 visitors (up by 5,000 on last year) through its doors between 1st April and 31st October, whilst telephone enquiries totalled 4,400, a 49.4% increase over 2015.
“The TIC team has done the Isles of Scilly very proud this year,” David sums up. “Not only have they delivered an excellent service to a great many visitors, but they have also embraced a far greater integration with the Islands’ Partnership’s activities, particularly with respect to our meet and greet service and the Scilly Events programme. It therefore seemed fitting to benchmark our practices against other TICs, and the Highly Commended recognition at the Cornwall Tourism Awards demonstrated that the Isles of Scilly TIC is very much up there with the best in Cornwall. This success has been the icing on the cake.”
Photographed with the Cornwall Tourism Awards’ Highly Commended certificate from left to right are: Maggie Wagstaff, Lena Heslin and Sue Sherris.