Unhelpful Tourist Brochures

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Travelling around the country for the series we do on days out as well as other stories, I am continually struck by the importance of the tourist information offices. Even yesterday in Bradford on a rather dank day at about 10.30 they had had three visitors and another two came in whilst I was there. Usually, at some point in the conversation, the visitor asks for directions. Why? Because the brochures often only give directions by car.
Some places might be only reachable by car but for many, bus or train is a preferable option. Do brochures say that there is no public transport? By and large, no. The same happens with their websites.
We have lots of brochures in the CD-Traveller office for reference and as background. So I looked at a few. Actually I looked at just over 200 representing all parts of the UK just to see whether it was me or whether there really was a lack of information on whether these places could be reached by public transport. The answer is it wasn’t just me; it really is the case or at least amongst these 200. More than half didn’t give public transport details and of the others, many just gave a town centre map expecting you to able to easily find it.
Some are very good about providing the information so the National Trust brochure for Fountains Abbey not only tells you the bus service but gives you a number to call for the timetable. The National Coal Mining Museum (outside Wakefield) is even better giving you the bus numbers and the stop to get off at. But many, too many, like Houghton Hall in Norfolk, Jodrell Bank in Cheshire or the Dylan Thomas Boat House in Laugharne just give you a little map and leave it to you to get on with it. Maybe this is OK in a village, a town or even a small city but anything larger and a map won’t do. How many visitors might be deterred by looking at map and thinking to themselves that it seemed a long way away and settling for a cup of tea around the corner instead?
So next time you print your brochures, tourist officers, don’t only include the fact that there is disabled access and your opening times, tell us how to get there. And if there isn’t public transport say so. And for those attractions that don’t do, one of the reasons the number of visitors is lower than you hoped for is because we can’t get there!

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