Coach Tourism is a key source of income to towns, villages and tourist attractions throughout the country. It ensures access to many rural locations countrywide where there is no other form of public transport and provides domestic and international tourists with a conduit to access tourist attractions throughout Ireland. The industry provides sources of employment into isolated rural communities where there would be no other form of employment available.
The Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland recently launched the Coach Friendly Town Initiative, providing designated criteria to ensure tailor made infrastructure is in place to attract overseas and domestic tourists and to promote uniform standards throughout the country. Those availing of this initiative have the potential to significantly increase the volume of tourists and the subsequent revenues accruing to businesses within their communities and to avail of the current economic upturn and the subsequent increase in tourism numbers.
CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTANCE
- Dedicated and easy-to-find group/coach page/information on website.
- There must be clear evidence that the attraction welcomes coaches and consults with local bodies and the coach industry on issues relating to coaches regarding parking, planning, traffic etc.
- Clear directional instructions and signs for visiting coaches.
- Dedicated, adequate, ideally free coach parking (and policed to avoid misuse by other vehicles) at the attraction.
- An on-board Coach Welcome from the attraction staff.
- They must provide, through literature and/or via the internet, a comprehensive tourism proposition.
- Adequate facilities for group comfort (toilets, refreshments, waiting areas etc.).
- Provision of Coach and Drivers facilities.
- Facilities to handle disabled and mobility impaired coach passengers.
- A named representative(s) who can be contacted or on hand to deal with difficulties and an agreed system to resolve conflicts and complaints.
THE ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
- An assessment strategy for achieving the award will follow the process below:
- The assessment will be conducted by CTTC staff and linked to operator feedback.
- A presentation describing the coach friendly offer will be required from the attraction, usually though not necessarily in the form of PowerPoint.
- A further review of the presentation will be undertaken by CTTC staff to ensure that a coherent strategy has been / is being implemented.
- Final judging will then take place by the panel and the award made.
THOSE AWARDED EITHER STATUS WILL RECEIVE
- A framed Certificate confirming the status valid for 2 years.
- A link will be displayed on the CTTC website providing details of the names and locations of attractions which have received the CTTC Award.
- Unlimited use of Coach Friendly logo online and in print.