October 2017

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Published on 2 October 2017

Coach survey highlights popularity of Newton Abbot

Alan Payling, coach drivers information packs organiser, Gavin Brame, executive tour driver, Tom Winters, Teignbridge's Economy Projects Officer, Louisa Brinton, Teignbridge's Economic Development Officer, Cllr Doug Hellier Laing, Teignbridge's Executive for Economy, Skills and Tourism, Mike Walsh, Teignbridge's Markets Manager.

A survey has found that an overwhelming 99% of coach visitors would recommend to friends Newton Abbot as a place to visit.

The survey by Teignbridge District Council looked at understanding of the positive economic impact coach tour visitors make to the town as well as their opinions on the town in general. Visitors from across the UK were surveyed, with most arriving from neighbouring Torbay on day trips to visit the popular market day on Wednesday each week.

The survey revealed:
• coach tour visitors spent over £75,000 in 2016, marking a significant financial contribution the chartered coach industry brings to the town.
• individuals and couples spent approximately 2 hours in the town
• during this time the average spend was £23.68 per person/couple
• 80% and 81% visited the indoor and outdoor markets
• 57% were first time visitors to the town

Following the outcome of the survey, Teignbridge are now trialling 3 coach parking spaces in the town’s Western Service Yard, offering more designated parking spaces close to the town centre.

Cllr Doug Hellier Laing, Teignbridge District Council’s executive for economy, skills and tourism, said:

“In a time when Teignbridge is proposing to heavily invest in the retail centre at the heart of Newton Abbot, it is fantastic news to hear that the town comes so highly recommended by our visitors. We extend a warm welcome to all visitors, whether on holiday or local, a regular or visiting for the first time.

“We’re always keen to find out more about our visitors and their experiences of the town. It’s fantastic news to hear that so many people would recommend visiting Newton Abbot and with future investment we look forward to welcoming even more visitors.

“There’s so much to see and do here, from shopping and eating out to events and award winning parks, and we encourage everyone to see for themselves why Newton Abbot is such a popular town that has so much to offer.”

The survey findings follow news that Full Council unanimously approved to support a major investment package for Market Walk Shopping Centre. The £2 million upgrade scheme will modernise the centre and create an open airy and spacious place to visit and shop at the heart of Newton Abbot.

Teignbridge acquired Market Walk Shopping Centre in February 2016 in a £13 million deal – the largest investment in Teignbridge’s history which has given the council a greater ability to positively influence the future development of Newton Abbot’s central shopping district as well as helping it meet financial challenges posed by reduced central funding.

Alan Payling, who organises the coach drivers information packs, said:

“The results of the coach passenger survey confirmed what many in the coach trade know about the impact that their coach parties can have on places like Newton Abbot: that they are very good for year round business.

“I was impressed by the immediate response to the survey by Teignbridge in providing additional coach parking bays close to the market and the town centre. These facilities will make life so much easier for the drivers and their passengers, many of whom have limited mobility.  Ease of access for coaches is absolutely crucial.”