In a decision described as “crazy”, Lanark’s Tourist Information Office is to close at the weekends from the New Year onwards.
Shutting the office in the Horsemarket on what is thought to be its two busiest days of the week came under heavy fire by Lanark Community Council, currently engaged on several projects to try to boost tourism to the Royal Burgh.
The news was delivered to the council’s latest meeting by the member in charge of promoting the town to potential visitors, Eleanor McLean.
She told fellow members: “It seems a strange decision to close at weekend and that worries me. It seems the single staff member is being given the weekends off but I wonder if some cover could be provided or a change in the shift patterns could be made to cover these two days.”
Chairman Frank Gunning described the decision by the centre management, VisitScotland, as “Crazy! It is an absolute nonsense to close the centre on the days most folk come to visit the town.
“What should we do? Tell folk that they are welcome to come to the Royal Burgh — but please don’t come on a Saturday or a Sunday!”
Recently there was a scare story — the latest of several in the past — that the Lanark tourist office was to close altogether.
This came on the back of South Lanarkshire Council’s decision to close the public toilet, which shares the Horsemarket building with the Tourist Information Office.
However, at the time, VisitScotland assured the Gazette that it had no such closure plans.
The national tourist body has come under fire before for what is locally perceived to be a bias towards promoting tourism in major cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow while neglecting small towns in between like Lanark.
VisitScotland has staunchly denied this, stating that it does promote attractions and places such as Lanark, New Lanark and Biggar as “visitor locations” for tourists staying in the cities to make a day trip to.