April 27 2021

John Gallery, marketing director at World of James Herriot, writes about the importance of coach travel to the business, and the benefits group travel brings to the surrounding area.

After such a long time out of action, the coach travel industry has been hit very hard and it is sad that some operators will never return. For those that do get through to the other side, this may be the year when domestic group travel becomes one of the key sectors to drive (excuse the pun) the recovery in tourism.

Coach travel is the most important part of the business at the World of James Herriot in Thirsk where we have a very healthy respect and good relationships with so many operators from around the country.

Visitors arriving by coach are treated in the same way as individual visitors as part of our ‘Groups Welcome’ policy and we work with drivers and tour guides to give every visitor a great experience.

Group visitors have helped our business hugely since we took over as the private sector operator of the attraction in 2012. It has sustained five jobs directly at the attraction but the wider benefits it brings to the local economy of Thirsk and the Herriot Country area is clear.

Other attractions, coffee shops, hotels, markets, shops, and other businesses benefit from the groups of visitors that we attract. We purposefully do not have a café or restaurant at the Centre as there are many of these in Thirsk and they have the expertise to deliver that experience whilst we concentrate on helping people to the enjoy the stories about James Herriot in his original home and surgery.

Looking ahead to the post-lockdown recovery, we are working together with Hambleton District Council through the Herriot Country Tourism Group along with other local area organisations to develop more group-friendly services and facilities.

These include more coach parks, toilet facilities and communication with the local community about the benefits that group travel brings to the destination.

Group travel represents a safer method of travel in the post-covid era. It is a more controlled environment than individual travellers, it is better for planned visits to a destination and working with attractions like our own, it means that visitors will have a safer visit overall. There is much to be gained by embracing the group travel sector.

Find out more about World of James Herriot here https://worldofjamesherriot.com/