Visitor Information Centre goes green!

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Visitor Information Centre goes green!

Posted: 06/08/2008 22:40:19

Burford Visitor Information Centre has received an award in recognition of its efforts to become more eco-friendly.

The VIC, which is run by West Oxfordshire District Council as part of its work to encourage tourism, has been given an award by the Green Tourism Business Scheme, the UK’s leading sustainable tourism certification scheme.

The centre, based in The Brewery, Sheep Street, Burford, was assessed against a rigorous list of 120 criteria, covering areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management and transport, to achieve ‘Bronze’ status.

‘Green’ steps taken by staff at the centre to reduce its impact on the environment include: fitting energy-efficient light bulbs; installing a water-saving device in its toilet cisterns; using chlorine and phosphate-free cleaning products; and selling a wide range of local products.

However, as Councillor Hilary Biles, West Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Tourism and Health explains, there has been much more work to ensure the VIC is acting environmentally-friendly.

Cllr Biles said: “The real change has been to the mindset of staff: thinking green and encouraging others to do so too – turning off lights, only printing when necessary and recycling everything possible. As one of the major sources of local information, the VIC is particularly involved in spreading the green message – not only does it offer information on public transport, farmers’ markets and local producers, but also gives ideas for places to go and things to do without a car and information on cycle hire.”

Cllr Biles added: “The staff and Tourism team at West Oxfordshire District Council work extremely hard to promote tourism and run a valuable service not only for visitors, but also local people. It is a great achievement to be recognised for doing this in an environmentally-friendly way.”

Burford VIC also participates in the Step into the Cotswolds visitor payback scheme, which encourages visitors to make a small, voluntary contribution towards projects that help to conserve the Cotswolds, make them more accessible or tell people about their special features.

Burford VIC is the only information centre in Oxfordshire and the only non-accommodation business in the District to have received an award. Three self-catering accommodation businesses in West Oxfordshire also received awards at the same time as Burford VIC. These were: The Chestnuts (Silver), Heath Farm Holiday Cottages (Bronze), and The Mill at Burford (Bronze). All of the businesses will be re-assessed by the GTBS in two years’ time.


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