Coach operators have hailed the resumption of domestic tourism after getting their first departures of the year away on Monday (17 May).
National Holidays chief Andy Freeth was joined by shadow tourism minister Alex Sobel in Scarborough to welcome guests on their five-day National getaway, which also includes visits to Goathland, Whitby, Beverley market and York.
Freeth said Scarborough, one of Britain’s "most iconic and most loved" seaside resorts which has hosted holidaymakers for more than 400 years, was the perfect place to mark the easing of government restrictions on domestic travel.
"This is a big day for us," said Freeth. "We’ve missed having our customers onboard as much as they have missed going on holiday, and it has been wonderful to share in their excitement as they’re finally able to get away."
Sobel added: “Group coach tours are an important part of the UK’s tourism industry, which plays a huge role in driving revenue into local economies and boosting employment.
"It was great to meet some of the National Holidays’ customers and chat to them about what they plan to do and see while they are on holiday in Scarborough. Today is a very important day, as the domestic tourism industry is able to open up further, and we are delighted that group coach tours are now back up and running."
Freeth added National would look to add more tours to its programme in the coming weeks to meet the "unprecedented" demand for domestic breaks and ensure as many people as possible are able to get away this summer.
"The majority of our tours across the country in the coming weeks are full, but we are adding extra holidays all the time," he said. "We are delighted to be back doing what we do best – showcasing the incredible places to explore here in the UK."
Somerset firm Bakers Dolphin was back in action on Monday too, and has 17 departures lined up for the rest of May. "We’ve been waiting a long time for this day to come, and it was fitting the sun was shining as our first two coaches set off," said sales and marketing director, Amanda Harrington, as reported by Bristol Live.
“It’s been a very challenging time for everyone, and we do, of course, still need to take sensible precautions and ensure we adhere to all the proper health and safety procedures.
"But we are delighted to be able to do what we’ve been doing for well over a century, and that’s helping people to make some memories and have happy holidays."
Pic L-R: James Mason, chief executive of Welcome To Yorkshire; Andy Freeth, chief executive of National Holidays; Maureen Earnshaw and Danny Henry from Huddersfield; and Alex Sobel, shadow minister for tourism and heritage.