Progress made in attracting more coach visitors to Wells
VISIT by Coach director Ian Jefferies says the work that his organisation has done to attract more visitors to Wells has made a real difference.
He says it has been helped by the co-operation between so many groups in the city.
Visit by Coach is coming to the end of a two-year contract to increase the number of coach visitors to Wells and improve their experience once here.
Ian said that 126 coaches visited Wells in 2016, but the aim is to increase this to 1,000 a year. In the last quarter, the Meet and Greet teams who welcome visitors at the bus station recorded 246 coaches.
“The main thing is getting processes in place and improving everything about group travel in Wells, so that Wells is a great place to visit and that visitors return,” said Ian.
“It is a beautiful place that is warm, friendly, has culture, good shopping, and everybody working together and pulling together.
“It’s all joining up, and if they can continue that and push it on, the visitor intake to Wells could be huge.”
One new initiative to tempt coach companies is free entry to films at Wells Film Centre for drivers during their stay, while planters are about to be installed at the bus station as part of efforts to smarten it up.
Ian is hoping to put stickers in shop windows and on street furniture indicating to visitors how long it will take to walk back to their coaches, so they realise that they have more time than they might otherwise have allowed to spend in the shops and cafes.
He also thinks that the work of the Meet and Greet teams could be expanded so that there are ‘ambassadors’ throughout Wells, helping people with enquiries and pointing out places of interest.
“You could have them trained in first aid, they could spot anti-social behaviour. It could develop into a really useful, helpful role,” said Ian.
The Visit by Coach contract is due to come to an end in July, and whether it is renewed or not, Ian hopes that the work will continue.
“We’ve made a difference. It could be that the sky’s the limit if you want it to be – there’s so much more that could be done,” he said. “I hope the people of Wells get together and make sure it is done.”