ALTERNATIVE ways of attracting tourism to Oswestry are set to be discussed after falling visitor numbers at a tourist information centre were revealed.

Town councillors want to discuss alternative ways of attracting visitors with the Business Improvement District (BID) and Oswestry Borderland Tourism (OBT).

The move comes after a drop in numbers at Oswestry Visitor and Exhibition Centre – which is run by OBT – to around 900 as of August, compared to around 1,300 for the same period in 2016.

Councillor Duncan Kerr, who proposed the meeting, said he did not propose the centre should be closed, but that “we look at how we use modern technology more effectively”.

He added: “At some stage in the future, one has to think ‘what are we doing if fewer and fewer people are visiting the centre’.

But town mayor Cllr Sandy Best abstained, saying Oswestry was not a tourist town, its economy had never been based on tourism and “every which way” had been tried to promote the town.

Cllr Best added the figures “did not mean a great deal”, and that factors such as weather and the economy could affect tourism.

But she added there were a “darn sight more” visitors in the town than the figures suggested.

Cllr Steven Mason spoke of the major events held in Oswestry and large numbers of people who might not be visiting the centre, but are coming to the town.

Of promoting the town, he added: “What more can we do? We must be doing something right because we are getting visitors to the town.”

Cllr Mike Coppock said Oswestry was not in itself a tourist town, but located in a tourism destination and lots of visitors, including foreign holidaymakers, come to the town.

“It may not be a tourist destination as such but that doesn’t stop us trying to develop the attractions we have,” he said.

Cllr Mike Isherwood said it would be interesting to see visitor numbers to the centre’s website.

The report by assistant town clerk Arren Roberts told how OBT was making a “concerted effort” to attract visitors and was played a “key role” in the Heritage Open Days events.

They also handled many enquiries about Oswestry Balloon Carnival and were busy during the event.

But while such data should be handled with care, it indicated a fall in visitor information visits.