NEWS > BUSINESS > GROUP AIMS TO MAKE STONEHENGE MORE COMPELLING FOR VISITORS
GROUP AIMS TO MAKE STONEHENGE MORE COMPELLING FOR VISITORS
August 3 2009
Wiltshire, U.K. – Stonehenge has long stood as one of the great mysteries of the manmade world. Alongside such compelling ancient architecture as the pyramids and the statues of Easter Island, Stonehenge has drawn visitors and inspired awe for millennia. For the tiny county of Wiltshire the stone monuments have also stood as a source of pride and a major revenue draw as thousands of visitors flock to the location, and consequently the surrounding townships, every year. That mystery and awe planted 4000 years ago has brought modern prosperity to this quaint English countryside.
For some though the site has not yet reached its potential. With tourism across the United Kingdom suffering major declines travel to Stonehenge has equally started to taper off, something which has pushed many local businesses into decline. Now the county has set a new plan to stabilize traffic to the historical site and potentially bring a whole new crop of tourists who will in turn, it is hoped, spend more money and help return the area to its former fiscal glory.
“We have a lot of ideas and right now we are sifting through them to try and figure
out which ones make the most sense and which will bring not only the maximum number of tourists but also create the most compelling experience for the people who do arrive. We want to ensure that this monument, which has stood for over four thousand years, is a part of the modern world,” said Arthur Cambridge, councillor for Wiltshire County. “Certain things are a given. We will be adding Wi-Fi and web kiosks at the site and be adding these really nifty little lights to the stones. We will also be adding some web personality to site and give the site Facebook and Twitter pages. We want to ensure that the vision of the site and the experience for visitors is as up-to-date and compelling as possible.”
Cambridge also added that they will be changing the official name of the site to ‘The Henge’. He also confirmed that they are considering adding a night club and possibly a shopping centre to the area.
“There’s no doubt that Stonehenge could do with a bit of an update. It has been quite a while since anyone did anything with the site but you have to question the changes they are thinking about making. Adding interactivity is a good thing but catching onto trends will likely prove fruitless in the end. This site has existed and compelled people for thousands of years and that success hasn’t been based on catching trends,” said Scrape TV Business analyst Ken Green. “That said things should change if they want to keep people coming in. After all it doesn’t have the epic qualities that things like the Pyramids or the Great Wall of China. They are, in the end, a bunch of rocks. Kind of a giant, ancient Lego set, hardly the kind of thing that inspires real awe and wonder especially amongst the younger set.”
Already Stonehenge enthusiasts are decrying the plan, fearing that it will not only desecrate and possibly damage the site, but bring a whole new crowd ‘undesirables’ to the location.
“People obviously fear change and sometimes that fear is well placed. The smarter thing to do might be to participate rather than criticize and ask for an end to changes. True the site hasn’t really changed in four thousand years but nothing lasts forever, not even Stonehenge,” continued Green. “If those groups can get on board and affect change from the inside then they may have the opportunity to push things in a positive direction, well positive from the standpoint of worshipping ancient piles of rocks. Whether that influence will have a positive effect on the bottom lines of local businesses remains to be seen, but at least the rocks will be safe.”
The county is also trying to work out a firm explanation as to why Stonehenge exists, or at least work out a compelling theory, in the hopes of creating a more define experience.