Beccles book shop in pilot project to help tourists

Lee Mason from Beccles Books will be on hand to offer advice and information to visitors.

Lee Mason from Beccles Books will be on hand to offer advice and information to visitors. - Credit: Archant

An independent bookshop has joined forces with a tourism association to provide information for visitors during the winter months.

The pilot project will see Waveney Business Forum and Beccles Business and Tourism Association join forces with Beccles Books in the town’s Exchange Square.

In the summer months, a tourist information point is located at the quay, but the trial to move the provision to the town centre over winter has begun to ascertain its effectiveness and value to both the visitor and business.

The shop already sells local interest books and maps but will now offer other visitor literature and leaflets.

This model has proven successful for Visit England which recently developed a partnership with Waterstone’s to place visitor information leaflet stands in their shops.

The Waveney Business Forum is currently working on projects to increase footfall within Waveney’s town centres and the pilot aims to raise awareness of the range of local businesses and facilities the area boasts.

Lee Mason from Beccles Books said: “Independent bookshops already provide a vital community service in providing information and assistance to customers both local and from further afield and this is a very natural progression of that role.

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“The strength of a good bookshop is that it’s somewhere where people feel comfortable asking a question or seeking advice and it makes sense to build on that to provide visitors to our beautiful area with everything they need to make the most of their visit.”

Christine Pinsent, coordinator for Waveney Business Forum, said: “This is a pilot initiative to ascertain if there is an advantage in having visitor information within shops which are staffed by local people who have local knowledge.

“Those people can encourage tourists to visit attractions and places of interest that they had not planned to visit or were even unaware of.

“They can also encourage visitors to eat or drink in local cafes, restaurants and pubs all resulting in visitors being encouraged to spend more time and money in a local area.”

Beccles Books is open Mondays to Saturdays from 9am until 5.30pm.

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