The West Yorkshire market town of Otley has been shortlisted for one of the top accolades in coach tourism at this year’s British Coach Tourism Awards.
The historic market town, which bridges cosmopolitan Leeds and the Yorkshire Dales, will vie for the prize of the country’s most Coach Friendly Destination against four other villages and towns at a glittering awards ceremony to be held on Wednesday March 25, 2020, at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.
The national awards recognise excellence in coach tourism, and nominees for the Coach Friendly Destination award are selected based on their commitment to welcoming coaches, coach groups and coach drivers, as well as steps they have taken to improve the coach friendliness of the destination over the previous 12 months.
Otley has targeted coach tourism as a development sector as part of its ongoing commitment to increase tourism to the town, a move spearheaded by a Town Coordination Group that includes representatives of Otley Town Council, Otley BID, Otley Town Partnership and the Otley & District Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
Over the past years, a number of coach-friendly initiatives have been set up, including a dedicated Coach & Group Travel page on the visitotley.co.uk website, pick-up and drop-off bays, dedicated coach parking and improved road signage. Other initiatives include improved facilities for drivers, including a £5 welcome voucher to spend in Otley’s cafes and restaurants, and the chance for coach trips to request an official welcome from Otley Bellman, Terry Ford.
Those improvements led to the town receiving official Coach Friendly Status recognition in 2019 – an award offered by the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, for towns with exceptional welcomes for coaches, drivers and passengers.