Let’s clear the blockage

I’m reading a great many comments about the frustration operators are feeling with several attractions which are, for reasons they do no specify, refusing to accept groups.

I’ll mention Longleat specifically, but there are many others who have decided that singles, couples and families coming by car are different from singles, couples and families arriving by coach. So I am trying to work out what those differences are.

The first difference, it has to be said, is the ticket price paid. Another might be – I’m generalising here – the age profile. I’m finding it hard to believe that the ticket price is germane, as attractions know that, at this time of the year, a rainy day will result in groups being in the majority of visitors. Nor do I think that attractions discriminate against people mature in years, as the euphemism goes.

My suspicion is that attractions fear that any cluster of Covid-19 infections might be traced back to the attraction, when it may have originated within the coach group. In other words, that they may be impacted by someone else’s problem.

I hope I’m wrong, but if that is the case, there’s a massive issue of trust here; after all, operators likewise have to trust attractions to keep everyone in their bubbles or they may be caught up in a cluster created by the attraction. This is doubly concerning for groups of elderly folk, as they are among the most susceptible.

Speaking to the Chairman of Coach Tourism Association’s John Wales, he believes this may be due to misinterpretation of the guidance, and the CTA’s Chief Executive, Helen Bowron, is actively engaged with talking face-to-face with attractions to clear this log-jam. Indeed, the CTA has promised BCB that Longleat will be added to its ‘to do’ list to see if a path can be cleared for groups.

CTA is the natural partner for this process, and a strongly urge operators in the group tourism sector to join, or at least to alert CTA to any problems of this kind through [email protected].

Groups-friendly attractions are already being listed in some detail by the CTA. If you are looking for group attractions or groups-friendly hotels, go to https://www.busandcoachbuyer.com/attractions-list-grows and find them there. The list is constantly updated, as we have linked directly with CTA’s master copy.

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