Coach visits are great news for Ayrshire

Some of the best of Ayrshire and Arran’s visitor attractions have been showcased to 23 coach and tourism operators, as part of a familiarisation trip to the area, organised by the Ayrshire and Arran Tourism Team, Visit Arran, Menzies Irvine Hotel and Discover Travel and Trade – with almost instant results.

The operators were all UK based and organise three to five-day coach trips to destinations across the UK and Europe, and the aim was to showcase the fantastic range of visitor attractions available across the region and to start building relationships with them, to encourage the inclusion of the region in their 2014 itineraries.

The visit has already made an immediate impact, with 40 new coach tour bookings confirmed in the area for next year, with an estimated boost to the local economy of £140,000.

As part of the wider tour, the group visited a range of attractions across Ayrshire and Arran, including Dumfries House, Burns Birthplace Museum, Nardinis, Brodick Castle and Arran Distillery.

Moira Birtwistle, chairwomanof Ayrshire and Arran tourism leadership group, commented: “We want to encourage more coaches to visit Ayrshire and Arran and familiarisation visits are a great way for operators to see what we can offer, by experiencing our amazing scenery, coastline and visitor attractions for themselves.”

Other operators have also confirmed their interest in the area, with Vince O’Brian, of Star Coaches, saying: “We’ve been really impressed with the visitor attractions we’ve seen on this trip. Ayrshire and Arran has a lot to offer our customers and we’ll definitely be looking to include the region in the future.”

Mrs Birtwistle continued: “This visit has produced immediate results and I’m pleased we also have interest being shown in Ayrshire and Arran by other companies.

“Attracting increasing numbers to the area will have a positive knock-on effect for hotels, guest houses, restaurants, visitor attractions and a range of linked businesses.

“This is great news for the tourism industry, superb news for local businesses and fantastic news for Ayrshire and Arran!”