A CHARGE for entry to the World Rugby Hall of Fame is being considered by Rugby Borough council – but borough residents may get a discount.
The charges – which will be introduced from April 1 if approved – are £6 for an adult, £5 for students and senior citizens, and £3 for children.
But council officers, who predict the charges could earn £120,000 a year, have recommended a 50 per cent discount for Rugbeians.
Their report, to be considered by councillors next week, says 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.
They say a discount for local residents “provides the best balance between income generation and wider economic benefits to the town centre”.
Setting an entry fee will allow the council and World Rugby to advertise for the forthcoming tourist season, and to present group travel options at trade shows in February and March.
A campaign coinciding with the Six Nations tournament is to feature in local newspapers and online.
The report adds visitor numbers are in line with expectations, with between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors expected in the first year.
Council leader Coun Michael Stokes 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.”
Council economy and growth spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms 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’ have attracted new visitors fascinated by these rarely seen exhibits from the social history collection.”
The proposal will be considered by the council’s Cabinet on February 6, and at a special meeting of the council on February 7.