EXCLUSIVE: Bedford to get new Visitor Information Centre

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Bedford Visitor Information Centre

Bedfordians have reacted strongly to that survey by YouGov which claims Bedfordshire is England’s least popular county. Now a new centre in Bedford will help promote the area far and wide.

The Bedford Visitors Information Centre will be situated inside St. Paul’s Church and will hopefully open at the end of September.

Speaking about the new centre, a team member said that while a survey may show Bedfordshire as an unpopular county, there are some obvious reasons for that: “If asked most people will say their holiday destinations first and Bedfordshire is not a traditional holiday destination. What we do have, however, are many excellent attractions for short term visits, such as our parks, the river, our theatres and the heritage and historical aspects of the town.
“We hope that the new Bedford Visitors Information Centre will help coordinate the publicity around all these, and more, so people have a central place for all things Bedford.”
The centre will initially be open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10:30 until 16:00, with the hope of opening for more days in the future.

Bedford Independent also spoke to Friends of Bedfordshire Society who’s spokesperson agreed that the area is often misunderstood: “Bedfordshire is a great county! I have never understood why people have such a negative attitude to it. The county is full of beautiful countryside, charming towns and villages, exciting things to do and warm and friendly people. Don’t get me wrong, Devon and Dorset, which top this poll, have their qualities but they never produced a chocolate toothpaste tart, did they?”

Meanwhile, Mayor Dave Hodgson echoed the sentiments of the many comments received on Bedford Independent’s social channels, adding that he was happy to support initiatives that put Bedford on the map: “Bedfordshire is a small yet diverse county which is a great place to live, all of which counts for little in ‘favourite counties’ lists dominated by holiday destinations. I’m proud that Bedford is the county town. Those of us who love Bedfordshire and are proud of that fact need to shout about it, because it deserves a bigger profile.

“I’ve met several times with those behind (another) exciting organisation called Explore Bedford. I look forward to working with them to help promote Bedford Borough and bring wider attention to the many reasons to visit and enjoy this part of the wonderful county of Bedfordshire.”

Speaking of recent public funding cuts which forced the closure of Bedford’s Tourist Information Centre, a team member for the Bedford Visitors Information Centre said: “We were very disappointed by its closure but appreciate restrictions on the public purse that have been imposed locally. This hasn’t just affected Bedford, several towns have also had to close their Tourist Information Centres. We hope we can now fill that gap.”

YouGov told Bedford independent that the data was collected using YouGov Profiles, which is a tool that holds data collected over months and years where panellists are providing their opinions on a variety of subjects. Panellists can offer opinions on cities or counties, and then it’s a simple like/don’t like/neutral answer. They said they couldn’t provide details of which counties respondents lived in but say locations are weighted to be nationally representative.

If you missed it, you can read the original report about the survey here