Entry charge on the cards for Rugby Hall of Fame
Future vistors of the World Rugby Hall of Fame could soon have to pay an entry fee.
Plans have been put forward to charge for entry to the Hall of Fame, which could start on April 1 if it gets the green light.
The proposed charges are £6 for an adult, £5 for students and senior citizens, and £3 for children.
Councillors will decide whether to apply the charge to all visitors, or whether to offer discounts or exemptions for residents of the borough.
According to an officer report, which is set to be considered by councillors next week, introducing a charge will make the Hall of Fame a more attractive destination for group travel operators, who use entry charges to create a profit margin.
Setting an entry fee would allow the council and World Rugby to prepare marketing materials for the forthcoming tourist season, and to present group travel options to relevant trade shows taking place in February and March.
Elsewhere in the report, councillors are told that visitor numbers are in line with expectations, with between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors expected in the first year.
While data is limited due to the Hall of Fame only being open a short time, retail and cafe sales are up and changes to the art gallery exhibition spaces have been well received.
Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “The World Rugby Hall of Fame has put the birthplace of the game onto the tourism map for the first time, with a world class visitor attraction.
“We were very keen that the attraction would be free for a period after opening, but introducing a charge before the tourist season picks up will help us to promote the attraction further afield and bring more groups to Rugby town centre.
“We are very aware of how popular the Hall of Fame has been with Rugby residents and the council report sets out a number of ways that residents could be offered exemptions or discounts, and councillors will consider these together when they meet.”
Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for economy and growth, said: “The changes to the art gallery, museum and visitor centre building have made all of the council’s services more welcoming and engaging for visitors.
“The Hall of Fame has been very popular, as we hoped, but the new archaeology gallery has been equally well received.
“In the exhibition space, displays such as ‘a place called Rugby’ and ‘our sporting life’, a newly opened exhibition featuring Rugby Town Football Club, have attracted new visitors fascinated by these rarely seen exhibits from the social history collection.”
The plans to carge for entry to the Hall of Fame will be considered by the council’s Cabinet on February 6 2017 and at a special meeting of the council on February 7.