Chester visitors are being treated to a Roman welcome as part of a festive celebration organised by CH1 Chester BID.
Dressed in authentic costumes complete with sandals and spears, Roman soldiers are meeting coaches at the top of Hunter Street and Roodee Park and Ride and escorting people into the heart of the City.
The soldiers inform shoppers about events happening that day, offering tips on the best places to shop and dine, and sharing a couple of Chester’s best kept secrets.
The initiative has been developed and funded by CH1 Chester BID Company – a collection of private sector, City Centre businesses, committed to helping drive footfall into the city and enhancing the visitor experience.
Paul Daniels, Chairman of CH1 Chester BID, said: “Our Roman heritage is a unique selling point of the city, so it makes perfect sense to have Roman soldiers as the first point of contact for tourists.
“The whole concept of a Roman welcome to Chester just adds an extra dimension to the shopping experience and we want people who come to this city to have a memorable visit that encourages them to come again.
“Chester is a wonderful and unique city so we need to use that to our advantage, and when we have local businesses working together as they are through CH1 Chester BID, we have an opportunity to introduce initiatives and to make improvements that will benefit us all.”
Paul Harston, owner of Roman Tours, added: “We were delighted when CH1 Chester BID approached us and asked us to work with them and improve the welcome to Chester.
“This has to be one of the only places in the world where you can walk down a high street with an authentic Roman soldier and we’ve had a fantastic response already from visitors all over the world. Businesses in the City Centre have also been right behind the Roman welcome, informing us of daily offers that we are relaying to visitors.
“We fully support the positive contribution that CH1 Chester BID is making in this city and look forward to meeting and greeting more visitors over the coming months.”
The recently established CH1 Chester BID (Business Improvement District) Company is a collection of leading Chester businesses, including Chester Grosvenor Hotel, Grosvenor Shopping Centre, Boots, Watergate St Gallery, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Chez Jules and Cruise nightclub as well as many others, that have joined forces in an effort to improve the economic vitality of the City Centre.
In June 2014, hundreds of businesses within the heart of Chester will be asked to vote on paying a one per cent levy on top of their business rates to fund an extensive programme of activities, cost savings and a range of improvements as determined by the businesses.
The team behind CH1 Chester BID are already gathering views and ideas from local businesses to see what challenges and opportunities they feel can be addressed to improve the City Centre offering.