September 22 2020

Michelle Brown, marketing manager at Make It York, writes this week’s guest blog for CPT about the vital role coaches play to support tourism in York.

The impact of the pandemic on York has been immense and over such a crucial time period from March to July, means we have missed out on all of our key bank holiday times throughout spring and summer. Under normal circumstances we welcome 8.4 million visitors each year to York, many of whom travel as part of coach groups and tours.

At Make It York we really value our coach groups and the contribution they make to our city, providing affordable and accessible transport to many people. Each year we receive coaches from far and wide, with international groups from USA, China, Australia and Germany as well as domestic groups from all parts of the UK. A lack of coaches was very noticeable this summer in York, and I know that coaches, just like retail, hospitality and accommodation sectors, have suffered huge losses in revenue, sadly with many small family businesses at risk too. York has a rich history and without coach travel there would be many people that might not have the opportunity to learn about our wonderful city.

In June Visit England launched the ‘we’re good to go’ scheme that highlights destinations, attractions and coach operators that have carried out Covid-19 risk assessments to ensure passenger and visitor safety. I hope this scheme boosts confidence and encourages people to get back on the coach and pay us a visit, as lots of our venues are signed up, including York Minster, York Mansion House, York Castle Museum and City Cruises York. Many of York’s key attractions are welcoming groups back, such as the JORVIK Viking Centre, and local tour guides are working hard to stick to social distancing guidelines so they can run their walking tours across the city.

We were so pleased to see the first coach group back on Yorkshire Day (1 August) with A&P Travel bringing 20 passengers to enjoy a break in York! We launched our recovery campaign to welcome back residents and visitors alike, and are currently running our Taste of York campaign with the York Food Festival planned this weekend from 25-27 September. We’re also in the final stages of planning for York Christmas market, which we really hope can still go ahead and we will be updating everyone just as soon as we can.

It’s a positive sign that so many of our attractions are opening, but if we are to keep them open we need coaches to bring people here. There needs to be clarity from government on guidelines each time something new comes into play that impacts travel, tourism and leisure, and allow ample time for coach tour operators to make any alterations to customer bookings so that everyone can continue to travel safely.

Make It York was established in 2015 with the coming together of the marketing and promotion, economic development, and tourism functions in the city. Their mission is to grow the economic prosperity and the wider wellbeing of York through profile raising, investment, and delivering a cultural strategy. Find out more on their website

Follow Make It York on Twitter for the latest news and updates @MakeItYork