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The Original Tour shows London the future

London`s sightseeing company The Original Tour has invested $2.9 million (…

London`s sightseeing company “The Original Tour” has invested $2.9 million (£1.6 m) in ten brand new specially designed, easy access low floor open top buses  – enhancing its reputation for offering `world class` sightseeing tours.

The investment sees The Original Tour as the only sightseeing tour operator in the British capital to offer wheelchair accessible buses in its fleet.

The investment follows an immensely successful 2004 for The Original Tour which saw a 9 per cent growth in passenger numbers. Figures for 2005 are already exceeding overall industry predictions from UKinbound, the organisation representing the UK travel industry, with web bookings up by 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2005.

Trade sales have been boosted by the increasing number of agencies and London tour operators adding a link from their own web sites to The Original Tour`s newly re-designed site which offers online booking facilities.

The Original Tour can now be seen as leading the way in the drive to upgrade the quality of tourism travel in the Capital, supporting both the London 2012 bid`s aims to increase accessibility and Minister for Tourism, Richard Caborn`s, calls for the UK tourism industry to be comparable with international competitors.

The investment has received praise from London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who said: “Any initiative to improve and ensure the highest standards of the capital`s attractions and facilities is to be welcomed. These new buses will make it much easier to get around and see the city.”

Said commercial director Colin Atkins: “This is a significant investment for us, and one that will bring major benefits to tourists sightseeing in London. The new fleet makes us the first open top bus tour in the capital to use brand new purpose built buses, and demonstrates our commitment to offering visitors to London, the high quality and accessible services they expect and deserve in a major European capital.”

The Original Tour`s investment has also been welcomed by Stephen Dowd, chief executive of UKinbound. He said: “UKinbound members are committed to delivering quality services and products for all our visitors and we are delighted that The Original Tour, one of our key Senior Partners, is so clearly demonstrating this commitment by investing in new, state of the art tour buses that will greatly enhance their customers` experience.”

Colin Atkins added: “It is not just about being the best tour in London, but the best in the world. We are delighted to work with the travel trade`s leading companies to ensure that visitors to the capital can enjoy a top class sightseeing experience”.

The introduction of the new fleet has also received praise by David Hornby, commercial director of Visit London who said: “This is fantastic news for visitors to London, and helps to provide the capital with even more top class facilities.”