Leicester’s award-winning King Richard III visitor centre and flagship tourist information store are set to run from the same site.
As part of new plans to maximise tourism and highlight Leicester’s historic Old Town, the city’s Visit Leicester store will move from its current premises in Gallowtree Gate to a new location inside the King Richard III Visitor Centre.
Leicester City Council and the visitor centre’s board of trustees have agreed that the visitor centre will merge formally with the city council so that resources can be shared between the two organisations.
City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The King Richard III Visitor Centre is a tremendous asset for Leicester, winning praise from visitors and awards from industry. It was recently named one of the Lonely Planet’s ultimate UK destinations.
“Visit Leicester opened in Gallowtree Gate in 2012 – before the discovery of King Richard III’s remains under a Greyfriars car park. Since then, we’ve seen the transformation of that part of the city. We’ve invested heavily in the street scene and open spaces like Jubilee Square, and as a result we’ve seen a revitalised shopping and leisure area develop around Hotel Street and St Martins.
“It makes perfect sense to locate our tourist information in this area, as this is often the first stopping point for tourists. It will also allow us to use our staff and resources more effectively to promote Leicester, as they will all be on the same site.”
The King Richard III Visitor Centre has been operating for more than five years. In that time, it has welcomed more than 330,000 visitors.
Staff at the King Richard III Visitor Centre will all continue in their current roles and will become employees of the council. Savings to the council will come from freeing up the Visit Leicester premises in Gallowtree Gate so that they can be re-let.
Martin Traynor, chair of trustees at the King Richard III Visitor Centre, said: Joining forces with the city council to promote both the wider tourism offer and the King Richard lll Visitor Centre is win-win for both organisations. The story of King Richard lll is an important chapter in Leicester’s rich history and as the city council continues to invest in tourism, the visitor centre can play an intrinsic part in telling the Leicester story.”
Staff from the King Richard III Visitor Centre will become city council employees in the next few months, while the transfer of the Visit Leicester centre is scheduled to take place by the end of March next year.