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Tour operator unveils expansion plans across the North

Liz Chegwin, Mountain Goat

[O]ne of the Lake District’s longest-running tourism operators has unveiled details of new expansion plans across Northern England, prompting a fresh recruitment drive and the purchase of ten new 16-seater buses.

Mountain Goat Tours has been running specialist tours for almost half a century, but the main 2018 holiday season will be a landmark for the company as it expands its private tours far beyond the boundaries of Cumbria. It will now be running the private tours for small groups of up to six people with pick-ups from Manchester, Edinburgh, North Wales and Yorkshire, as well as Hadrian’s Wall and the Lake District.

Mountain Goat is also rebranding its Yorkshire day tours as ‘Mountain Goat York’ and will be continuing to offer tours to famous locations including Castle Howard, Whitby Bay and the North York Moors. That means both private tours and daily scheduled services on Mercedes mini-buses are now available directly from York with a new batch of locally-knowledgeable drivers.

Back in Cumbria, another new addition will be the launch of scheduled tours picking up from hotels and B&Bs in the Keswick area for the first time. This will bolster the nine existing daily tours which already run daily from South and Central Lakes, recognising Keswick as a major tourism destination in its own right.

The new innovations will bring the Mountain Goat minibus fleet up to a total of thirty vehicles. The changes have been driven by the ever-increasing demand from international visitors, including both travel agents and individuals travelling independently. A snapshot of Mountain Goat passengers over the past 12 months reveals that behind domestic visitors, American visitors are the most frequent, closely followed by Japanese, Australian, Chinese and Indian travellers.

Liz Chegwin, Marketing Manager at Mountain Goat, says, “Although Mountain Goat has been around for 46 years, we need to keep innovating and moving with the times. With new staff and new vehicles, we are able to radically expand the range of services we offer across a much larger geographical area.  We are focusing on the North of England, but essentially multi-day private tours can start from anywhere in the UK, which gives us greater flexibility and allows us to create a more personalised service. This is a major benefit for international visitors in particular.”

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