A TOUR operator has waded into the row over the £27million improvement project at Stonehenge, saying that while some operators may bypass the stones the “vast majority” are welcoming the transformation.
The new development – involving a ten-minute shuttle from the new visitor centre being built 2km from the stones – will require a significantly extended visit time for tour operators.
Some guides fear the plans have been ill-thought out and that the two-hour stop recommended by English Heritage will put tourists off as many have limited time and want to “see as much as possible” in their packed daily itineraries.
But Ralph Bennett, director of Tours International, who has brought visitors to the iconic site for the last 25 years, said they only spend a short while at the site because the current facilities are inadequate.
He said: “Parking is problematic, our clients have to queue and there is nowhere to sit and eat under cover. Yes, we currently fit two or three destinations into a one-day tour, but Stonehenge is most definitely the star attraction.
“The transformation being made by English Heritage will address these problems and enable us to offer Stonehenge either as a day out in its own right or as part of a two-stop tour; and a two-hour visit will be about right.
“The vast majority of us are embracing the future, which will at long last mean we can properly showcase one of our most iconic and fascinating visitor attractions to tourists from around the world.”