THANKS to funding secured from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Cambridge City Council and its partners – Cambridge BID, Cambridgeshire County Council, Kings College Cambridge and Fitzwilliam Museum Enterprises – have launched a new Electronically Assisted Vehicle (EAV) based visitor welcome service, in a bid to support the continued recovery of the city’s tourism market following the impacts of the pandemic.
The new EAV – pictured – will be operated by Visit Cambridge, the new tourism development service for the city, as a mobile Visitor Information Centre (VIC) for the city and under the new and eye-catching Visit Cambridge brand.
As well as being environmentally friendly and low cost to run, the EAV will be able to access high footfall areas of the city centre that are closed off to standard vehicles, such as King’s Parade, Market Square and the CB1 railway station area.
Cambridge BID’s on-street Ambassador team will staff the EAV, which will operate around the city and park up in these locations to service the needs of all visitors, include local residents, workers and students.
The mobile VIC will offer free maps and guides about the city; and provide advice and guidance on what’s on, where to go and how to make the most of what Cambridge has to offer, both during the day and in the evening and night-time. The EAV will also be used to deliver supplies of maps and guides to businesses hotels and attractions to enhance their customer service offer.
This EAV is part of a £710k programme of visitor welcome capital investments to support the city’s visitor offer and sustainable recovery, which is being funded by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and delivered by the Council and its partners.
Cllr Alice Gilderdale, Executive Councillor for Recovery, Employment and Community Safety, said: “At the height of the pandemic, tourism took a big hit, and because of this a lot of our local businesses have suffered.
"I welcome this initiative which will enable us to better inform visitors about all the wonderful things Cambridge has to offer, while benefitting businesses both big and small. Not only will this support our local economy but will do so by setting new standards in efficiency and sustainability."
Professor Andy Neely, vice chair of the Business Board at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said: “Our high streets have been some of the worst affected parts of the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the Business Board has supported businesses and jobs in the short term, it has also looked longer term at how the high street can recover. Innovative thinking on the future of our town and city centres has to be part of the future approach, and this mobile tourist information centre offers a new and exciting way to engage visitors in key areas of footfall, helping to reinvigorate the high street.”
Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge BID, said: “Cambridge BID are delighted to receive this EAV electric vehicle, this will further enhance the visitor welcome that our on-street Ambassador team are able to provide to the many visitors the city gets all year round.”