Published: September 16, 2013
Burnham coach tourism project 'creating new jobs and boosting trade'

A project to bring thousands of extra coach visitors to Burnham-On-Sea is already making good progress, creating new jobs and boosting trade in the town.

'Project Coach' was launched in July after a £15,000 grant from Burnham and Highbridge Town Council was given to BIARS (Burnham Information and Rescue Support), which runs Burnham's Tourist Information Centre, to start the initiative.

Several businesses have since employed extra part-time staff to cope with an upturn in trade from rising numbers of coach visitors.

The news comes as a new person joins the Project Coach team. Coach Destination Manager Les Barber has been appointed to join Ian Jefferies, BiARS Business and Tourism Manager, in delivering the project's benefits.

Ian told "To take Project Coach to the level that we wish and to show the town's commitment and understanding of the value of the coach tourism industry, the project now has its own dedicated Coach Destination Manager."

"I am pleased to announce that Les Barber has been given the position within Project Coach and will be working tirelessly to reach the goals set by the project. Les is a great community-minded person, being the current President of Burnham Lions. He has 19 years' experience in the coach industry and was an important part of the team that gained a finalist position for Burnham in the category of 'Coach friendliest town / city' in the UK's Coach Tourism Awards earlier this year."

Les said he is delighted to have been appointed, adding: "I am pleased and excited to be given this role within Project Coach, with the backing of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council and BiARS."

"The coach industry is a largely untapped resource that can bring many rewards and benefits to our local businesses and communities. In 2012, tourism expenditure in the UK rose by 6.9% and a personal survey on a Friday morning revealed a coach passes our front door on the M5 on average every 90 seconds."

"Already, since the launch of Project Coach, businesses in the town have reported an upturn in trade and an increase of coaches within our town. At least two businesses have taken on extra part-time staff."

"I am convinced this is only the start and Project Coach can produce a whole range of benefits throughout the community and help bring the feel-good factor to the people of Burnham and Highbridge."

"We have already made contact with several key operators to bring their customers to our town and to our various events in 2014. We are shortly planning to open a travel shop in BiARS, where people of our towns can book day trips, short breaks and holiday accommodation across the UK with various suppliers. These are very exciting times ahead for our town and communities."

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