THE Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Rhyl has decreased its opening times following a downturn in footfall at the site.

The centre, which informs visitors about accommodation, attractions and general tourism information in the area, will now be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 9.30am-4pm.

Previously, the site, based within the Children’s Village on West Parade by the seafront, was open Monday to Wednesday and Friday to Saturday, 10am-5pm.

But it is hoped that this will be a temporary measure, with plans afoot to reinvigorate the centre, which is operated by Denbighshire County Council (DCC) and managed by North Wales Tourism.

A Denbighshire County Council spokesperson said: “The council currently operates two TICs, one in Rhyl and one in Llangollen.

“We fully recognised, following the disruption from COVID-19, that it was very important to make sure these two sites can operate during the upcoming tourism season for both towns.

“Following this, in consultation with North Wales Tourism who manage both sites, we made changes to the opening hours at Rhyl to make sure both facilities can operate during the season.

“Rhyl will now be open four days a week from 9.30am until 4pm, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays.

“We will also look to monitor footfall and demand at the centre to adapt opening hours to meet the needs of residents and visitors going forward.”

The TIC in Rhyl first opened in March 1995, and has been managed by North Wales Tourism for more than 20 years.

Rhyl Journal: A plaque marking Rhyl TIC's opening in 1995. Photo: Jim JonesA plaque marking Rhyl TIC's opening in 1995. Photo: Jim Jones

The centre also sells crafts, maps, guides and books.

This move marks a reversion back to the Rhyl TIC’s original opening times, having expanded them several years ago.

Jim Jones, North Wales Tourism chief executive, said the reduction was a necessary evil, adding that he believes the location of the TIC in the town is to its detriment.

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North Wales Tourism also manages the Llangollen TIC which, Mr Jones, has been performing “extremely well”.

But Mr Jones stressed his commitment to providing the town with “all-singing, all-dancing” centre to benefit the town’s entire community, rather than solely its tourists.

He said: “Unfortunately, we’ve known for a long time that the Rhyl TIC is in completely the wrong place.

“Just before the pandemic, we had a plan with DCC to move the TIC and museum into the railway station, and turn it into a proper, all-singing, all-dancing visitor information centre with the museum.

“That was part of a deal to be done with an ice cream parlour that was going to take over the current TIC.

“However, the ice cream parlour pulled out at the last minute and went to Prestatyn, so the plan we had couldn’t go forward.

“Then the pandemic hit, and for the last two years, we’ve obviously been supporting the staff there, with 100 per cent of their salary, as well.

“We’ve just come to renegotiating the tender (with DCC), and there are very few people using it and spending money on it. We used to be quite busy with ticket sales; they’ve now dropped, also.

“The TIC is providing a great resource, but is generating very little income.

“Right across North Wales, TICs have closed. We’re 100 per cent committed to making sure Rhyl has a centre of good quality, and provides a service to tourists and the community.”

Mr Jones also pointed to the potentially positive impact that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund could have on matters, with Denbighshire projected to receive more than £25.5million as part of £585m provided to Welsh local authorities in the next three years.

And he added that, on days of special events in Rhyl when the centre would normally be closed, it will open.

Indeed, though it is typically closed on Sundays, it will be open on Sunday, August 28 from 9.30am-4pm for the Rhyl Air Show.

Mr Jones added: “The plan now is to have a meeting with all partners throughout Rhyl to work out how we can provide Rhyl with what it needs.

“Hopefully, this is a temporary measure. We have a very proactive website, and on special event days, the centre will be open.

“But for now, it’s not viable. We’ve done everything we can to keep it going.

“It’s not just the last two years. Llangollen is doing extremely well, but the staffing is very similar to what we have in Rhyl.

“If we’re really serious about tourism, and the investment going into Rhyl, we need to have a proper TIC. That’s a piece of work that we’re committed to doing, and we’re trying to do it as soon as possible.

“When you think about how much money the UK Government, for starters, through the Shared Prosperity Fund, is ploughing into these areas, it shouldn’t be that much of a problem.

“I’m sure the commitment is there from the Rhyl community to ensure that we keep the TIC.”

The MP for Vale of Clwyd, James Davies, also backed plans to improve the town’s TIC in light of the harsh impacts on the tourism industry from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Davies said: “The domestic tourism and hospitality industry was hit hard during the pandemic and with international travel now well and truly opened up again, local businesses need the greatest opportunities possible to compete, and succeed.

“In this light, I would expect Rhyl’s TIC opening times to be increased rather than the opposite.

“I have been in discussion with the county council over this matter, and they recognise the need to work with North Wales Tourism to update and improve the local TIC offer, and to make it more sustainable, so that its future is secure.

“I have expressed my view that opening hours need to be improved, rather than scaled back.

“I hope that a greater throughput of visitors to the TIC will allow this to follow.”