Ilfracombe’s Tourist Information Centre is struggling financially and could be facing closure unless something can be done.

The centre inside the Landmark Theatre building is currently running at a loss and needs to find ways to bring in more revenue or save money.

Rod Chatfield, a director of the TIC as well as chairman of Ilfracombe and District Tourist Association, said the first step was to make people aware of the problem and call on them to support the centre by using it.

That includes booking National Express coach tickets there, as well as using it to book long term car parking.

He is also urging local businesses and accommodation providers to register to advertise on the Visit Ilfracombe website, which is another source of revenue for the TIC.

Mr Chatfield said the IDTA had been subsiding the TIC wage costs for January and February, despite it being a separate company, but he said this could not continue for long.

He said the TIC income came from commissions, but it no longer received money from accommodation bookings because people booked direct or online, while parking was often booked via apps such as Ringo.

He said: "It's the biggest TIC in North Devon, we employ one-and-a-half staff, a manager plus a part time person and volunteers. We get some finance to cover the rent from Ilfracombe Town Council, which gives us a grant."

Now they are looking at a range of options to try and keep it going, including the possibility of moving in with another organisation to share costs, or moving into rent free premises.

It is currently open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, but seven days in high season and the possibility of reducing this is being discussed.

Mr Chatfield said: "There's other options we have to look at as well - do we close it? That's a possibility because it will be running at a loss if we don't do something about it.

"We want people to use it, the staff in there are very helpful and we need local businesses to advertise on the website, which I think is the main way we can increase income.

"This is the first step, putting it out into the community to see what we can get to try and save it."

The centre also needs more volunteers to help out.

Ilfracombe mayor Val Gates said it 'goes without saying' how important the TIC is to the town. She said: "We have supported it financially for many years through our grants programme and support it through our marketing and Events4Ilfracombe teams as much as possible. With the forthcoming relaunch of the Dotto Train we were looking for the TIC to sell tickets for the attraction.

"I have meetings scheduled this week to discuss the situation but I can assure you that we will do everything we can to retain the facility in the town. How can you have a seaside town such as Ilfracombe without a tourist information facility!"

If you can help, or would like to advertise your business on www.visitilfracombe.co.uk, go to the website or call the TIC on 01271 863001.