On board for tourist training

Monday 24 February 2014

Bedford College students are helping to stir up new ideas for trips on board the award-winning John Bunyan community boat for the 2014 season.

After a winter in dry dock, the boat will be back in the water for public cruises from Thursday April 3rd until the end of the year. In its maiden year the boat carried 4,000 visitors but is expected to take 1,000s more in 2014 as private charter and business bookings have boomed.

Bedford College was one of the local organisations which helped to fund the boat - it gave a donation of £5,000 on condition its Travel & Tourism students could have a real input into sales and marketing. In 2013 students put together the Town & Anchor Cruise package taking people from Bedford to Great Barford. In 2014 they are coming up with something new.

Said Graham Mabbutt, Chair of the Bedford Milton Keynes Waterway Trust which runs the boat: "It has been great to get so many people thinking about the benefits of the river to tourism for Bedford. Our long term plan is to see the waterway linked to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes. The John Bunyan Boat is helping to promote that idea.”

"Charter trips begin with the better weather, including a Mother's Day afternoon tea with Bedford Swan Hotel on March 30th. Public trips begin on April 3rd and will run until the end of October. In November and December there will be the Santa Specials.”

"The boat has been welcomed and supported by so many people - but we always need more volunteers to keep us afloat."

If you would like to get aboard the John Bunyan boat, as a passenger or volunteer, visit www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk to book tickets or learn more about the Bedford Milton Keynes Waterway.

Prices for trips start from £8 for adults, £6 seniors and £5 children or £20 for a family.