Southport enhances its coach welcome package

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Coach host Wendy Wright greets a visiting coach passenger to the North West of England resort
Coach host Wendy Wright greets a visiting coach passenger to the North West of England resort

Coach parking charges halved to £5 for 12 hours, and drivers are looked after with facilities and incentives

Southport has launched ‘Southport Welcome,’ a new initiative that aims to remind coach operators and tour planners why the traditional seaside destination is coach and group friendly.

At the heart of the initiative is husband and wife team Rod and Wendy Wright who, as the town’s coach welcome hosts, meet and greet coaches arriving on day excursions between March and October – a role they have fulfilled for some time.

The initiative is being rolled out through trade press advertising and at forthcoming trade shows with the message: “Have you tried the ‘Southport Welcome’?”

‘Southport Welcome’ is also highlighting the town’s dedicated, secure coach parking, and coach parking charges that have been reduced from £10 to £5 for up to 12 hours.

Commenting on the initiative, Steve Christian, Destination Development Manager with Sefton Council, said: “Southport was one of the first towns in the UK to be awarded the ‘Coach Friendly’ status by the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK. This recognised our package of measures designed to make it easy for coach and tour operators wanting to bring groups to the town. Today, Southport is well-known for its traditional seafront, shopping and café culture. As coach and tour operators plan their 2017 day excursions and touring holidays, we want to highlight not only what Southport has to offer, but also the welcome that we offer to our visitors. Rod and Wendy Wright have been welcoming coaches arriving in the town centre for many years. It is this welcome that we believe is something very special. It’s the reason why our new initiative is asking the question: ‘Have you tried the Southport Welcome?’”

Southport said it is one of the few destinations in the UK to offer secure coach parking. The purpose-built facility, located at the Southport Eco Centre at Promenade, and a short distance from the town centre, offers toilet and refreshment facilities for drivers.

“We are also one of the very few destinations to reduce our coach parking charges,” added Steve Christian.

“This, combined with the dedicated and secure parking area at the Southport Eco Centre at Promenade, offers an added and welcome reassurance for coach operators. Drivers also receive one of our Driver’s Passports. Each time they visit, their passport will be stamped. After four stamps, they receive a £10 Marks & Spencer voucher.”

According to Steve, Southport is seeing an increase in demand for experiential tourism: “There’s a noticeable increase in the number of visitors looking to do more than shop on Lord Street, walk on the pier, or attend our flower, air and fireworks shows.

“Southport’s location and facilities are proving attractive to those looking for walking breaks, golf breaks, heritage tours, and food and drink-based tourism. Next year, Royal Birkdale golf course, just to the south of the town, will host The Open. We’re also an ideal base for groups wanting to explore the wider area, including Liverpool, the Wirral, Antony Gormley’s ‘Iron Men’ along the coast at Crosby and WWT Martin Mere.”

Key events in 2017 include: Southport Food and Drink Festival – June 2 to 4; The Open, Royal Birkdale – July 16 to 23; Southport Flower Show – August 17 to 20; and the Southport Air Show – September 15 to 17.

For more information about what to see and do in Southport and the wider area, go to Contact the Tourist Information team based in The Atkinson in Lord Street on 01704 395510, or email [email protected].