Friday, 3 June 2011

What’s on Thanet District Council?

The annual old vehicles bucket and spade run to Ramsgate on Sunday is one of Thanet’s main events, involving hundreds of classic vehicles and thousands of spectators, when I went to write the previous post about it I tried to use the council’s website to find out some information about the event.

There is nothing on the council’s main website their homepage features the following events:

St. Laurence Churchyard Tour (June)
St Laurence Church Coffee Morning (June)
LYRA in Concert in St. Laurence Church
The Spencers of Spencer House and Althorpe.
Coastal Cycle Rides
Margate's Big Event
Fun Factory Fundraising Summer Fayre & Nearly New Sale
Air Show - Margate Big Event
Thanet Disability Awareness Roadshow
St. Laurence Churchyard Tour (July)

The council run tourism site doesn’t highlight this major event, although you can find it on this website if you know you are looking for it, from their homepage click on “Whats On” (link near the top of the page). Then click on “Events” link near the bottom of the page over a thumbnail picture of what looks like Broadstairs Bandstand. Then work through the pages using the arrow near the bottom right of the page.

I failed to find the information I wanted to know there so I rang the Droit House Visitor information centre in Margate, the number is on the website 01843 577577 and was answered by a machine that told me to press 3 for information about forthcoming events. I did this and it took me to a recorded voice loop telling me to look on the website.

A problem here is that the average person looking for something to do at the weekend in Thanet will probably put something like “whats on in Thanet” into Google which leads them to the councils two websites.

The next problem is about how much trouble a potential tourist thinking about coming to Thanet this weekend would be prepared to go to, not as much I went to I expect.

Make no mistake here we, the local council taxpayers, pay for a tourist information service whether it works properly or badly, so I consider the only option is to try and to get it to work properly, particularly the online aspect. Increasingly people use the internet to decide what to do and so their experience needs to fast and seamless.

This particularly relates to the number of links they have to click on before they give up, go to another area and spend their money there.  

Finally I used the bludgeon approach to the tourist information hotline, which was to press 1 until I spoke to a human being, who turned out to be both charming and helpful. 

There is of course Ramsgate Tourist Information Office in the Custom House, so I tried putting “Ramsgate Tourist Information office” into Google, this essentially takes you to Margate Tourist Information Office.

I finally managed to find the phone number for Ramsgate Visitor Information the one in the Custom House by phoning up the town council, any tourists reading this should note the phone number is 01843 598750. 

I will add to this one as I get time.      


  1. Michael Tourist imformation for Thanet is at best rubbish. Both sites leave so much to be desired and the thing what frustrates me most is no one cares. Given we are a tourist destination I would have thought the websites needed to have all the tourist attractions on them in a presentable manner. But what do I know. The other problem is getting events organisers to contact the site with the imformation. A lot of event organisers dont bother with even the most basic of self promotion. hey ho it not just a Thanet problem.

  2. Does anyone know what time the event starts in Ramsgate? I know the run leaves Faversham at 10am. Wouldn't want to turn up too early...or too late.

  3. Can't see the problem.

    I went to "Visit Thanet" - clicked on "What's On" - then browse events - everything was there.....

  4. The 30th Great Bucket & Spade Run at Ramsgate

    100's of Classic cars complete the annual run from Brogdale Farm Faversham to Ramsgate's Government Acre

    Meet at the farm at 8am, where cars will be departing at about 10am. Cars should start to arrive in Ramsgate from 11.15am

    Winning plaques will be handed out at 3pm

  5. Don there are some very real problems, however I revived a receptive and positive response, the information on the tourism site has been updated and a link has been put on their homepage.

    Officers are tied by the way government uses and regulates their own use of the internet, the blog post was written with officer cooperation, frankly this seems to be the way to get things to improve.

    20.01 Last year they started to arrive about 11 the Harley-Davidson club will be showing bikes in Ramsgate but won’t be doing the run route due to the sharp corners on the lanes.

    The other 20.01 yes it is now, pity there is no mention on the council’s main site though. Don’t misunderstand what I intended by posting as some sort of anti TDC post, the idea was to get the problems sorted quickly, this is one of Thanet’s premier events, the visitor information people will be attending with their tent, knew all about it but hadn’t promoted it well. Frankly when this sort of thing goes wrong no one else seems to notice let alone get some of the problems rectified. In the past I have tried doing this via councillors and nothing happened. So now I contact the officers directly, the publicity on the blog helps them get things sorted out quickly and means that action gets taken, I have tried a more softly softly approach, I have tried official complaints. The objective here isn’t to raise loads of paperwork but to get the event publicised as much as possible.

    What I think I am getting across is how to stitch together something on the internet so that when someone puts a whats on in Thanet question to Google there is some chance that they may find out and come here. I manage this with books about this area, it works and the people who want the books get them.

  6. Aha, many thanks. I was thinking of getting up there about 11ish, looks like that's about right.

    Should be a good day, especially if the sun decides to shine. Forecast is a bit sketchy. Could go either way but I don't think it'll rain.

  7. There is a brand new Visitor Information Kiosk in Broadstairs, on the sea front in front of the Albion Hotel, opened just a week ago.

    This again is an example of Broadstairs societies in co-operation and the kiosk will be run by volunteers.

  8. 8:55 The Big Society at work hey. Best ring David Cameron and let him know.

  9. 8.55 we have something along these lines in The Custom House in Ramsgate, the centrepiece is supposed to be an information machine provided by TDC, I gather that this went wrong not long after it was installed.

    No one in Ramsgate seemed that concerned as the machine seemed to be primarily designed to direct tourists to Margate. I am not sure however that having five officers in the Droit House and none in Ramsgate or Margate is the best way of running things.

    Don you don’t have his number do you?


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