Southport’s long-established reputation as one of the UK’s most welcoming towns for coaches and groups has once again been confirmed with a place on the shortlist at this year’s British Coach Tourism Awards.
The national awards scheme, launched in 2006, recognises the UK’s most coach-friendly destinations, visitor attractions, hotels and tourism suppliers.
Southport will be battling it out against the south coast resorts of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, the Somerset destinations of Burnham-on-Sea and Wells, and the Yorkshire town of Otley.
Southport has won the award twice in the last 11 years, in 2009 and 2017, and has been a finalist in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2019. The town was also awarded ‘Coach-Friendly’ status by the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK in 2004.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Skills, said: “Across the UK’s coach and group tourism industry, Southport has long been recognised as being ‘coach friendly’. The ‘Southport Welcome’ travel trade initiative introduced in 2018 continues to highlight the way we look after coaches and groups. This includes our secure coach parking at the Eco Centre on Esplanade, a special Coach Drivers’ Passport, and the development of ‘Southport Pick ‘n’ Mix’, a range of short break itineraries to inspire and encourage tour operators to spend a few days in the town and the surrounding area.”
Cllr Atkinson added: “In 2019 we celebrated 25 years of our unique ‘Meet and Greet’ service that sees our Coach Welcome Hosts boarding coaches from March to October to hand out maps and leaflets. Our entry for the 2020 award focused on the meet and greet and the role it plays as part of the ‘Southport Welcome’.”
The winners of the British Coach Tourism Awards will be announced on 25 March.
For more information about the ‘Southport Welcome’, go to www.visitsouthport.com