Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Work hard and our city will have a bright future
4:50pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
THE head of Worcester’s tourism body has stepped down from her role – and insists the city is well placed to prosper in future years.
Georgia Smith, who ran VisitWorcester since the organisation was launched six years ago, is looking for pastures new after the Chamber of Commerce sec-ured the contract for city centre services.
The 52-year-old has been instrumental in shaping Worcester as a shopping and leisure destination for 13 years, having started as the Guildhall’s city centre manager in 2000.
She said the key challenge for the Faithful City was ensuring it does not lose ground on rival destinations in future years.
That includes making sure enough private sector jobs are created to make sure residents have the means to take advantage of a better retail offer.
She said: “From a visitor point of view, if we are to compete with other destinations and the increasing growth of online shopping, we need to make sure that the experience people have when they do come to Worcester is second to none, and that we all shout about what a great city this is.
“Worcester needs enough good quality jobs so that people can earn and spend in the local economy.
“And Worcester needs to hold to its long-term vision of being a first-rank cathedral and university city and to do what is needed to achieve this, whether it’s clean streets, beautiful parks or a quality cultural and retail offer.
“To achieve that, I think we need to embrace growth – welcome it and manage it.”
She has also called upon Worcester’s decision-makers to keep focus on the city centre rather than out-of-town retail parks, especially with the pressures of the internet.
“Recent times have seen a weakening of the policies allowing only bulky goods in edge-of-town locations, but if we allow any type of retail on the edge of town or out-of- town then we will end up with the doughnut effect and decline in the city centre,” she said.
“It’s also much harder for those without private transport to get to those locations as most public transport is still focused on coming into the city centre.”
Although VisitWorcester is ceasing to exist as an active body, it will remain the shareholder for Worcester BID, an organisation representing traders.