A new vehicle to help support the recovery of Cambridge’s tourism market has been launched.
The electronically assisted vehicle (EAV) will be operated by the new tourism development service Visit Cambridge as a mobile visitor information centre (VIC).
The vehicle is able to access high footfall restricted areas of the city centre such as King’s Parade, the market square and the CB1 railway station area.
It will park up in these locations to provide information to visitors as well as residents, workers and students.
Cambridge BID’s on-street ambassador team will staff the vehicle, which is environmentally friendly and low cost to run.
Cllr Alice Gilderdale, executive councillor for recovery, employment and community safety at the city council, 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.”
The VIC will hold free maps and guides with staff able to provide advice and guidance on what’s on, where to go and how to make the most of what Cambridge has to offer during the day and at night. The vehicle will also be used to deliver supplies of maps and guides to businesses, hotels and attractions.
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.”
The vehicle was delivered thanks to funding 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.
The EAV is part of a £710,000 programme of visitor welcome capital investments to support the city’s visitor offer and sustainable recovery, which is being funded by the Combined Authority and delivered by the council and its partners.
Professor Andy Neely, vice chair of the Combined Authority’s business board, added: “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.”