COUNCILLORS in Bradford on Avon have reduced the level of trade activity being taken with VisitWiltshire, the county’s tourism body, while they put into place a new business and tourism strategy.

On Tuesday, the town’s business and tourism committee voted to pay an outstanding membership invoice of £912 including VAT and continue with town partner membership for 2018/19.

They have also renewed the council’s travel trade membership at partner level for next year at a cost of £366 including VAT. The town has been a key partner in VisitWiltshire’s travel trade group since 2014.

Florence Wallace, Travel Trade & PR Manager for VisitWiltshire, said: “We have been working closely with Bradford on Avon Town Council and are fully understanding of their situation.

“We know Bradford on Avon are working on a tourism plan and look forward to helping them develop this plan to grow tourism business to the town in the future.”

The reduction in trade membership means the council will not be promoted as strongly in VisitWiltshire advertising or at travel trade exhibitions in the UK and overseas.

Cllr Dominic Newton said: “This is not necessarily about reducing the level of investment, it’s about getting best value. We will be deploying our resources elsewhere, for example to gain Coach Friendly status.”

Back in August, the councillors complained they were not receiving value for money from being investor level members of VisitWiltshire at a cost of more than £3,300 a year due to lack of town council resource.

The annual investor level membership subscription was due to be renewed in January and gave the town the same level of tourism status as Wiltshire’s biggest tourism attractions and locations, such as Longleat, Bowood House, Salisbury Cathedral and Salisbury.

In August, Cllr Steve Plummer, who operates the Holidays and Cruises for You travel agency in the town, said Bradford on Avon was strong enough to promote itself to the rest of the UK and the world.

The council is working towards improving signage, access for people with disabilities and car parking, as well as the town map and ‘meet and greet’ facilities for bus and coach parties.

It wants to gain ‘Coach Friendly’ Status from the Confederation of Passenger Transport, the UK’s voice for the bus and coach industry sector, and attract spin-off trade from people visiting Bath.