A new project to encourage more coaches into Burnham-On-Sea has been formally announced this week.
The new scheme is being jointly run by Burnham Chamber of Trade and BIARS (Burnham Information And Rescue Support), which runs the town’s tourist information centre, with the backing of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council.
The initiative aims to bring 1,000 coaches a year into Burnham, once it begins, generating a projected annual benefit to the economy of £97,500 to help the viability of existing businesses and support jobs in the town centre.
It comes after Burnham’s ‘Project Coach’, a scheme that launched three years ago to encourage coach companies to visit Burnham, ran out of funding earlier this year despite being hailed a success after winning the coveted title of ‘Coach Friendly Destination of the Year’ for Burnham at the 2016 National Coach Tourism Awards.
The new project has been awarded £2,000 of grant funding from the Town Council and other funding has been applied for from the Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP), along with expected support from local businesses.
Les Barber, one of the two managers behind Project Coach, will be leading the new scheme with the support of BIARS, the Chamber, Town Council and local businesses.
He said: “I am looking forward to taking the project to the next level and continuing the success of the project.”
Tom Ashton, Chairman at BIARS, said: “I am delighted that BIARS will continue to be a key partner in the coach project and we look to another busy few years ahead with coaches coming back to Burnham.”
Alex Turco, Vice Chairman of Burnham Chamber of Trade, added: “I look forward to seeing businesses in the town coming together to support this scheme, bringing in more visitors into our town, and taking advantage of our nationally recognised coach-friendly status.”
BIARS volunteer Mike Young added: “It will be great to have the coach project restarted, with the coaches coming back into Burnham.”
The new project will be launched formally at a reception at Burnham’s Ritz Social Club on Monday 22nd August. There will be a buffet at 6pm and a presentation will start at 6.30pm. There will be opportunities to ask questions and to participate in the project. The event is open to all.
Pictured: Top, Burnham’s Town Crier Alistair Murray, with the new coach team of Les Barber, Tom Ashton of BIARS, volunteer Mike Young and Alex Turco of the Chamber of Trade