02:44AM, Thursday 17 January 2013
The council in Windsor is looking at ways it can benefit from tourism.
The news comes after a tour company said last week it would no longer bring visitors to the town due to parking problems.
At a meeting last night a forum agreed to explore how they can increase the time holiday-makers spend in Windsor.
The suggestion follows changes at ancient Stonehenge. The attraction in Wiltshire is in the process of a £27m project. The changes include a 10-minute shuttle from a new visitor centre being built 2km from the stones. This means it will require a significantly extended visit time for tour operators.
At the Royal Borough's visitor management forum, members said tour firms take visitors on whistle-stop day trips around the UK only spending a few hours in Windsor, before moving on to attractions such as Stonehenge.
Instead they want people to stay in Windsor all day, overnight or longer.
They said tourists are rushed up to Windsor Castle and back - without visiting other attractions or the town centre - and they want people to have a 'better and more rounded experience'.
Ideas suggested include improving the route from Windsor Coach Park, in Alma Road, to Windsor Castle, giving the park a facelift and creating a 'my favourite or perfect day' borough itinerary.
Chairman Cllr Alan Mellins (Con, Cox Green) said changes at Stonehenge may force tour operators to adapt their itineraries and spend more time in Windsor because Stonehenge is harder to be completed quickly.
Vice-chairman Cllr Andrew Jenner (Con, Maidenhead Riverside) said it does not matter 'how pretty' Windsor is - it was about changing the 'mind set' of operators.
They suggested day trips combining Windsor with just Oxford or Hampton Court, rather than with Bath, Salisbury, Stonehenge.
- Last year between 1.2-1.5 million visitors came through Windsor Coach Park in Alma Road.
- Money made from the tourist coaches coming to Windsor was said to be worth about £22million to the borough's economy.
- The average time spent by a visitor to Windsor is two to four and a half hours.
- Top tourist enquries to www.windsor.gov.uk in 2012 were Windsor Castle with 992,652 views, and Changing of the Guard with 55,030.
- The top events people searched for in 2012 were the Armed Forces Muster and Parade and Ascot Carriages - carriage rides through the Royal Landscape.
- Press coverage of the Royal Borough in 2012 reached over 145 million people and was valued at half a million pounds.
- Windsor is home to two of the UK’s Top 20 visitor attractions – Windsor Castle and Legoland.
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