DEVIZES is gearing up for the tourist season by pushing out the message of what the town has to offer visitors from across the world.
The Devizes Area Tourism Partnership was set up after Wiltshire Council closed down the visitor centre in the Market Place two years ago. Members have been busy setting up a network of local businesses prepared to guide tourists to the best the area has to offer.
Tony Aldridge, a member of the partnership who runs the Rosemundy Cottage bed-and-breakfast with his partner Zita Delancey, said: “We have been going for 17 months and we have been making steady progress.
“There is now a central phone number for B&Bs so that, if one of us is unable to take someone, we can put them in touch with someone who can, rather than send them away to ring around.”
The partnership showed off its wares at a tourist literature exchange meeting in Trowbridge last week, when it flew the flag for Devizes.
As well as a general leaflet on the partnership and what Devizes has to offer, there is one on bed-and-breakfasts, and one on the Devizes shopping experience. This lists all the businesses in the town centre by street and what they sell.
Mr Aldridge said: “We couldn’t believe it when we started putting this together that there are 242 business premises in the centre, and what they offer for sale is fantastic.”
A calendar of festivals and events in the town has been put together by Dave Buxton of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts and includes details of the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race, the Lions May Day Fair, Devizes Festival, and other beer festivals, carnivals and street festivals.
There is also a leaflet published by Devizes DIVAS, which is a decoration, vintage and antique seller, describing the 15 outlets that deal in antiques, collectables and home furnishings.
The partnership has a number of events planned for English Tourism Week, starting on Monday, with a series of free sampler sessions.
There is beer tasting at Wadworth’s visitor centre, a canal boat trip from the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, a walking tour guided by John Girvan and a sneak preview of the new galleries at Wiltshire Museum.
For more details on these and other events next week, go to www.devizes.org.uk and follow the link to English Tourism Week.