FARMINGTON — When a tour bus travels through the western mountain area, what tools are needed to help local businesses and communities provide a welcoming service to the bus tourists?

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a workshop to help give businesses and the community those tools so they can go out and capture a piece of the tour bus industry, said Marc Edwards from the Cooperative Extension.

The workshop, Bring on the Bus Tour,  deals with how to market businesses, attractions and communities to the bus tour industry. It will be held on Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension, 138 Pleasant St., Farmington. There is a $35 cost.

An industry professional, a woman who has worked for major bus tour operations in Maine, will provide insights and information from a tour operator’s perspective. Edwards will provide information on trends within the industry, the economic impact a bus tour can have on a community, and other relative and research-based information.

When tour buses come through this fall to enjoy the foliage, this area might not necessarily be a destination but a stop along the way, he said. If local eating establishments and businesses know the bus is coming through and planning to stop, they won’t be caught unaware or closed but can be prepared, he said.

During the workshop, what bus tour companies are looking for and how the local community can capture that business will be discussed, he said.

It might be as simple as greeting the bus and providing welcome bags. A few years ago, a small cruise line, for some reason, had to come up the Penobscot River to Bangor. Someone from the local business organization rushed to be there to greet and welcome those on the cruise and offer a small gift from the area, he said. Now the Bangor stop has become a regular one on the cruise.

The workshop will also look at hotels and lodgings and how they can prepare for and attract bus tours.

The motor coach industry is big business and can bring positive economic impacts to communities and businesses, he said.

Preregistration is requested. Contact the Cooperative Extension’s Franklin County Office at 778-4650 to register or for more information.

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