Blackpool has received a tourism boost after being recognised as a top destination to travel to by coach.
Investment in parking facilities and the introduction of a meet-and-greet service has helped the resort to be awarded Coach Friendly Status by the national Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).
Blackpool will also be hosting the national UK Coach Rally in May when coaches will be displayed along the Promenade between Central Pier and North Pier.
It is a turnaround for the town which a few years ago came under fire from the CPT for the quality of its coach facilities, with the coach park on Lonsdale Road being criticised for being outdated and vandalised.
But since then transport chiefs have worked closely with the industry to improve the service offered.
Initiatives have included the refurbishment of Banks Street car park, next to Blackpool North Train Station, with new lighting columns, complete resurfacing and the marking of car and designated coach parking spaces.
New set down points for groups visiting the Grand Theatre, the Tower, North Pier and other venues have also been introduced, while during the Illuminations coach parties arriving at destinations including Central Car Park are greeted by ambassadors funded through the LightPool project.
There is also free coach parking between November and Easter to encourage more low season coach trade.
Alf Scrimgour, operations and tourism executive for the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “CPT is absolutely delighted to acknowledge and welcome Blackpool to our Coach Friendly scheme.
“It has always been accepted as one of the UK’s premier resorts but this award recognises the commitment the town has made specifically to providing a special welcome to coaches, their drivers and their passengers.
“Particularly helpful has been the close relationship the town enjoys with Blackpool Transport which extends many of their facilities and services to visiting coaches.”
Deputy council leader Coun Gillian Campbell said: “We have invested in some important initiatives recently to make access to the resort even smoother for coaches, enabling travellers to make the very most of their visit here.
“Blackpool has a long successful association with coach travel, stretching right back to the days of the horse drawn vehicle and this new status is a wonderful reflection of the continued commitment the resort makes to both coach travellers and operators.”