Perth re-awarded CPT’s Coach Friendly status

Perth has been re-awarded the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s (CPT’s) Coach Friendly status.

Awarded by CPT Scotland, the accreditation is intended to encourage more coach operators to visit an area, increase visitor numbers, boost the economy and help reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Perth is the second city in Scotland to have won the badge (after Inverness), joining 29 locations across the UK to be Coach Friendly.

CPT’s ‘Coach Friendly’ scheme recognises towns and cities that improve coach access and provide better facilities for coaches and their passengers. Suzanne Cumiskey from the Tourism, Culture & Place team at Perth & Kinross Council outlined on social media the work that went into achieving the accreditation, including reviewing directional signs, brown signage, wayfinding, coach bays and car parks ahead of the opening of Perth Museum this year. This was in consideration of coach parking and where it directed coach operators to for drop-off, pick-up and long stay parking.

CPT audits places and destinations that hold Coach Friendly status every three years, although the pandemic did delay this process. However, CPT tells B&CB that it has been working to catch up on the delay, while some of the destinations have been removed for reasons including the destination cutting its coach parking.

The scheme is an application of the partnership model (between local businesses, councils or BIDs, and attractions or destinations) in order to drive better consideration for coaches in places that have a significant offer to tourists (so it’s not just any place).

Shrewbury and The Sill, an attraction in Northumberland National Park, have both recently achieved the status.

“CPT is keen to develop the Coach Friendly concept in Scotland” – Phil Smith, CPT’s UK Coach Manager

Phil Smith, CPT’s UK Coach Manager, said: “CPT is keen to develop the Coach Friendly concept in Scotland because we want to see continuous improvement for coach passenger experience and operator benefits in places of high tourism interest across the country.”

He hopes the re-accreditation for Perth will make many more Scottish destinations, attractions, towns, cities and other locations of great interest to tourists want to go Coach Friendly by creating the right conditions for coach tourism to flourish as part of their wider strategy to reduce congestion, improve air quality and promote more sustainable tourism.

‘Fantastic news for Perth’

CPT’s Phil Smith presented the accreditation to Perth and Kinross Council leader, Cllr Grant Laing, outside Perth Museum yesterday (8 May 2024).

“We’re already a popular destination for coach trips and look forward to welcoming even more in the future” – Perth and Kinross Council leader, Cllr Grant Laing

Cllr Laing said: “Travelling by coach is a great way for people to travel. We’re already a popular destination for coach trips and look forward to welcoming even more in the future.

“This will bring even more people to Perth and Kinross and support businesses across the region.”

“The group travel market has an important part to play in Scotland’s sustainable tourism ambitions” – Caroline Warburton, Destination Development Director with VisitScotland

Caroline Warburton, Destination Development Director with VisitScotland, said: “Achieving Coach Friendly status is fantastic news for Perth and the wider region, and reflects the investment and great work that has been done to cater for coaches, part of the city’s commitment to welcoming group travel.

“The group travel market has an important part to play in Scotland’s sustainable tourism ambitions. Not only does it offer an alternative to travelling by car, but planned itineraries are an excellent way for visitors to explore the region.”

CPT’s Phil Smith said: “CPT is delighted to be able to renew the city of Perth’s ‘Coach Friendly’ accreditation at the point where Perth & Kinross Council is also celebrating the re-opening of Perth Museum – a significant tourist attraction at the heart of Scotland that is home to the historic and symbolic Stone of Destiny.

“Visitors to Perth can now enjoy improved facilities which also make the city a valuable and well located stopping off point for popular coach trips heading north into the Scottish Highlands.”

Neil Bailey, manager of Fife-based Bay Travel Coaches, said: “As a local coach specialist we are very pleased that CPT has recognised the efforts made by the Council and the City’s ongoing commitment to continue improving access and facilities for coach tourism in central Scotland.”

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