Sefton Council’s Tourism Team has been recognised after Southport was named the UK’s most coach-friendly destination at the British Coach Tourism Awards 2017.
The town saw off stiff competition from Beverley, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Poole and Wells to win the award for ‘Coach Friendly Destination of the Year’.
The award recognises a town, city or region that demonstrates a commitment to welcoming coaches, coach groups and coach drivers. Previous winners have included Liverpool, York, Burnham-on-Sea and the Isle of Man.
The judges praised ‘Southport Welcome’, a new initiative launched in 2016 to highlight and remind tour planners and coach operators why the traditional seaside destination is coach and group friendly.
At the heart of ‘Southport Welcome’ 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.
In addition to promoting the many visitor attractions, festivals and other things to do in the town and surrounding area, ‘Southport Welcome’ also highlights the town’s dedicated, secure coach parking, and how coach parking charges have been reduced.
Steve Christian, Sefton Council’s Destination Development Manager with Visit Southport, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with winning this award. Across the UK’s coach tourism industry, Southport has long been recognised as being ‘coach friendly’.
“However, with so many towns, cities and other destinations competing for business from group visitors, it’s vital that we keep that message in front of tour planners and coach operators.
“Winning this award will mean the campaign receives even more publicity which, when combined with our other marketing activity, and the new Southport branding, looks set to encourage even more people to visit the town over the months to come.”
Helen Conway, group director at awards organiser Diversified UK, added: “Once again the sheer quality of this year’s awards entries has been outstanding. It sends a strong signal that the domestic tourism sector is getting stronger every year and is a real testament to the strength of commitment of the individuals working within it.
“There are many tourism awards, but only the British Coach Tourism Awards specifically focuses on coach tourism. It is the most important annual celebration of the very best our industry has to offer.”
For more information about the ‘Southport Welcome’, go to www.visitsouthport.com. For more information about the British Coach Tourism Awards, go to www.britishcoachawards.co.uk