Driving tourism forward: first look at Greater Manchester’s new sightseeing bus

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Distributed by Marketing Manchester on behalf of Sightseeing Manchester: the hop-on hop-off city tour

Driving tourism forward: first look at Greater Manchester’s new sightseeing bus

  • Manchester’s first daily, year-round hop-on hop-off service to start phased launch this week;
  • New tour will fill notable gap in region’s thriving tourism economy;
  • Tour voiced by Manchester Global Ambassador and Lord of the Rings actor Dominic Monaghan.

Manchester will welcome its first daily sightseeing tour bus service this week when it takes to the streets for its inaugural journey on Good Friday (14 April).

The hop-on hop-off bus will fill a significant gap in the market as Manchester is currently one of few cities in the UK without a daily sightseeing bus tour despite having a rapidly growing tourism economy, currently worth £7.9 billion.

‘Sightseeing Manchester: the hop-on hop-off city tour’ will give visitors a new, flexible way to discover Greater Manchester’s top tourist attractions with tickets valid for 24 hours from time of purchase. The tour will run every day apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day with multiple departures per day.

As part of a phased launch the tour will commence with an initial route that starts in Albert Square and visits 15 tourism hotspots throughout Manchester, Salford and Trafford. Additional routes incorporating areas of East Manchester and the University corridor are currently being developed and will be introduced later in the year.

In an additional coup for the city, English commentary for the tour will be provided by Lord of the Rings and Lost actor Dominic Monaghan who grew up in Stockport. Dominic is one of Marketing Manchester’s Global Ambassadors, recruited to promote positive national and international perceptions of Greater Manchester.

Philip Higgs, managing director at Sightseeing Manchester, said: “As a born and bred Mancunian who has operated sightseeing tours in other cities across Europe, it always struck me as odd that Greater Manchester, with its many iconic tourist hotspots, has not previously had a daily, year-round bus tour. Having recently returned to the city after a number of years away – and seeing how far the tourism industry has come on in that time – I am delighted to be able to start a new business to fill the gap in the market and I’m looking forward to packing our striped green buses with tourists.”

Sheona Southern, managing director at Marketing Manchester part of the Manchester Growth Company, said: “We’re delighted by the news that Manchester will soon have a dedicated daily sightseeing tour and we are very excited for the imminent launch. Greater Manchester’s lack of a daily sightseeing bus tour has been something we have wanted to remedy for a number of years – especially given the rapid growth of the region’s tourism sector.”

Dominic Monaghan added: “As a staunch Mancunian I am delighted to loan my voice to curious people exploring this fascinating city.”

‘Sightseeing Manchester: the hop-on hop-off city tour’ will launch on Friday 14 April with the inaugural tour departing from outside Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square at 10.30am. Press and media are invited to join the inaugural tour (or at a later, preferred date) and should contact Marketing Manchester’s communications team for further details.

Web: sightseeingmanchester.com | Twitter: @sightseeingmcr


For further information please contact:

Andy Parkinson

Communications Manager, Marketing Manchester

andy.parkinson@marketingmanchester.com | 07714 001 544

Notes to editors:

Photography of the bus available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/agidoaqpb23lnq9/AAB0i4RTShkLTE8pRYj4uNC-a?dl=0

Frequently asked questions:

How much will it cost to ride and how does this compare to similar services in other cities?

Ticket prices are fixed as follows for 2017: Adult (£12); Young Person and Students (£6); OAP (£6); Family (Two Adults, Three Children) (£25); Four Adults (£30). The prices are lower than equivalent tours in Edinburgh and London.

Is pre-booking required and if so how do you book?

Pre-booking is not essential and visitors can simply walk up and purchase a ticket from the driver. Tickets can be booked in advance at sightseeingmanchester.com.

Is the tour commentary available in languages other than English?

Initially the tour commentary will only be available in English. Mandarin, Arabic, French, German and Spanish commentary will be rolled out in the coming months, ensuring that the bus tour meets the needs of those visiting from international markets that align with Greater Manchester’s internationalisation strategy. There will be a free app which can be downloaded on the bus for languages other than English.

Why is the tour being launched on Good Friday?

The bus tour is being launched during the Easter holidays to coincide with the high number of day-trippers and those taking short breaks to the city from the UK during the school holidays. Phasing the initial tour in now will also allow for customer feedback and tweaks to be made to the service before the summer holidays.

How much demand is there for such a tour?

Visitor numbers to Greater Manchester have been increasing year-on-year and it is clear that the region requires more products that can be booked in advance and which offer new experiences. Manchester is the third most visited city in the UK and it makes perfect sense to introduce a tour such as this to capitalise further on its success as a tourist destination.

What are the stops on the initial route and how does the hop-on hop-off process work?

There are 15 stops on the initial route: Manchester Town Hall; King Street; Aytoun Street; Piccadilly Gardens; Church Street; National Football Museum and Victoria Station; Manchester Cathedral; Salford Cathedral; Salford University; The Lowry and The Quays; Trafford Road; Old Trafford; Imperial War Museum North; Museum of Science and Industry; Bridgewater Hall; and returning to Manchester Town Hall. Visitors will be able to hop on and off at any stop within a 24 hours of purchasing their ticket.

How has the initial route been selected?

After a thorough consultation between Marketing Manchester, Transport for Greater Manchester and Manchester City Council the initial route was chosen to take in some of Greater Manchester’s top tourism hotspots and attractions within an allocated time period while also minimising the possibility of extended periods of time stationary in traffic. Additional routes will be launched later in the year and visitors will be able to hop on and off between routes using their one purchased ticket.

But the initial tour doesn’t include Manchester City FC or Universities.

It is impossible to accommodate all landmarks and attractions on the initial route whilst keeping to the 90 minute timeframe. This timeframe is important for those who just want sit on the bus for the duration of the tour and do not want to utilise the hop-on hop-off aspect. Through our in depth visitor information research we know that those hotspots on the initial route  are some of Greater Manchester’s most visited and popular attractions and they fit together to form a diverse, cohesive and efficient sightseeing route. Additional routes will be launched later in the year and visitors who wish to do so will be able to hop on and off between routes using their one purchased ticket.

Are the buses eco-friendly?

The buses are low emission to Euro 4 standard.

Are the buses accessible?

The buses are low floored with disabled accessibility features.

Does the bus have Wi-Fi?

The bus will have Wi-Fi to allow visitors to download the tour app and access the internet whilst travelling on the route. Wi-Fi is currently being fitted and will be available approximately two weeks after launch.

It’s an open top tour – what about the rain?

The open top feature is purely to maximise the viewing ability for the customers on the bus; buses in Edinburgh are open top and it does not pose any issues there despite having a similar average rainfall to Manchester.