Bournemouth and Blackpool achieve Coach Friendly status

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The Bournemouth title is presented at BTTS. L-R: Mark Smith (Tourism Bournemouth), Sheena Leaman (Tourism Bournemouth), Alf Scrimgour (CPT), Karen Tiley (CPT)
The Bournemouth title is presented at BTTS. L-R: Mark Smith (Tourism Bournemouth), Sheena Leaman (Tourism Bournemouth), Alf Scrimgour (CPT), Karen Tiley (CPT)

Two seaside towns handed the accolades from the CPT at the British Tourism & Travel Trade Show

Bournemouth and Blackpool are the latest towns to receive the CPT’s ‘Coach Friendly’ Towns, Cities & Villages status.

The titles were presented at the British Tourism & Travel Show (BTTS) at the Birmingham NEC earlier this month. The CPT said it was delighted to learn that both destinations have recently undertaken a programme of work specifically designed to provide coaches with greater ease of access to their key visitor attractions and facilities, whilst also actively promoting coach tourism across the town.

Speaking at BTTS, CPT’s Alf Scrimgour said: “CPT is delighted to welcome Bournemouth and Blackpool to its Coach Friendly scheme.

“The status recognises the commitment they have both made to making sure that coach parties receive a very warm welcome when visiting.

“Both towns are well established, famous seaside resorts that have made great strides in recent years to make sure that their offer to coaches, drivers and passengers is second to none.

“Having worked closely with local bus and coach companies, during my recent assessment visit I was delighted to learn that Blackpool and Bournemouth have introduced additional drop-off zones and made major changes to coach parks – including increased security measures due to the implementation of lighting and CCTV – and vastly improved facilities for drivers and vehicles.

“Both towns have fully grasped the importance of the coach industry to its local economy and present a true ‘Coach Friendly’ face to the industry.”

On receiving the status, Mark Smith, Director of Tourism for Bournemouth, said: “We are delighted to achieve the CPT Coach Friendly status. It is very important that forward-thinking, modern destinations cater well for visitors arriving by coach since they represent a vital part of the tourism market.

“The Coach Friendly status is a recognised standard that Bournemouth is extremely proud to have received.”

The development represents something of a turnaround for Blackpool, which had previously drawn criticism from the CPT for the quality of its coach facilities, particularly the coach park on Lonsdale Road, which it called ‘outdated and vandalised.’

Councillor Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Blackpool has a long and successful association with coach travel, stretching right back to the days of the horse drawn vehicle and this new status is a wonderful reflection of the continued commitment that the resort makes to both coach travellers and operators.

“We have invested in some important initiatives recently to make access to the resort even smoother for coaches, enabling travellers to make the very most of their visit here.

“The award is also particularly timely as this year, Blackpool will be hosting the national UK Coach Rally in May, which will see coaches displayed along the Promenade between Central Pier and North Pier.”