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Parking charges “fleecing” tourists

A move to highlight how many tourist attractions fleece visitors by charging them extra to park their cars has been launched by motorists lobbying group the Alliance of British Drivers and backed by the West Country’s top tourist attraction Wookey Hole Caves.

Families travelling to tourist hotspots this summer will often find they have to pay extra to park their car or the only parking available is in council-run car parks that charge by the hour.

Hugh Bladon, who was one of the founders of the Association of British Drivers 17 years ago, said: “There is an attitude that motorists are a bottomless pit of money. Tourist attractions and councils benefit from the motorists bringing in visitors, who spend their money, and yet they are then penalised for arriving in a car.

“It is a scandalous situation and people are being fleeced when they arrive at many attractions and tourist hotspots with no choice but to fork out on parking charges, which seem to creep up and up each year. We would like to see tourist attractions be transparent in their advertising if there is a parking charge on top of an entrance fee.”

Owner of Wookey Hole Caves, Daniel Medley, is backing the campaign. He said: “We provide free parking for around one million vehicles over the course of the year, including cars and coaches. We have overflow arrangements for the busy days in the summer.

“On the busiest days we provide people to assist in finding a parking place. We agree that too many tourist attractions are hiding the real cost to visitors by introducing parking charges and it is not fair. When you are in a location like ours people have to come by car and we are pleased to see them and want to help motorists as much as we can.

“Tourist attractions in the middle of towns and cities often don’t have much parking so people are forced to use local authority car parks, which can be very expensive.”

Alton Towers Theme Park charges £6 to park a car and also provides an “express parking” service which is £16.

Said Daniel Medley: “There are some attractions where parking adds up to 25 per cent of the entrance fee and that can’t be fair on the public. The whole point of “tourism” is that people “tour” and that means travelling around in their own car unless they are on an organised coach trip.”

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