British Tourism & Travel Show previews its exhibitor show highlights for 2016
British Tourism & Travel Show – the leading annual meeting place for the UK’s multi-billion pound domestic tourism industry, has released a preview of some of the new launches being showcased at this year’s show.
Taking place at NEC Birmingham on the 16-17 March 2016, the popular two day trade event will showcase over 250 leading attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs. The following is just a taste of what’s on offer at the show.
Work is underway for a new £15.7m visitor centre, at the National Memorial Arboretum. Opening in Autumn 2016, the build comprises of a spacious welcome and orientation area, and exhibition space dedicated to the interpretation of Remembrance. It will also incorporate a new restaurant and separate café, catering for 500,000 visitors a year (stand B23).
VisitWiltshire is introducing new group itineraries and packages including a one-day Capability Brown 300th Anniversary package tour with Longleat and Bowood, via Discover Wiltshire. 2016 Year of the Garden brings together two of Wiltshire’s finest examples of Capability Brown landscape gardens, Bowood House & Gardens, and Longleat. Each attraction offers a 90-minute guided tour with expert guides, and includes lunch and a cream tea. Perfect for horticultural enthusiasts and only £55 per person. T&Cs apply (stand G67).
First time exhibitor Papa Sams Food is launching the Sandwich Box Club, a bespoke, pre-packed lunch service specifically aimed towards the coach and tour market in the UK. Catering for all types of dietary and religious requirements (including vegan, kosher, and halal), the custom made sandwich packs and hampers are ideal for all occasions. Customers can use the online order facility until 10pm for next day delivery, and free delivery over £100 (stand H10).
An instant messaging web app for tour operators – Tosay.co is making its debut at the show. Designed to attract new business, improve customer service, self-engagement, and productivity, it’s easy to use and affordable for tourist operators looking to inspire their teams to go the extra mile (stand B78).
The multi award-winning Phoenix Artist Club, situated at the heart of London's Theatre Land, is introducing unique theatre inspired cocktails, to accompany a pre-theatre dining experience. Cocktails include Rum Tum Ginger, Midnight Masquerade, and Trunch's Sour (stand F24).
Visit Snowdonia is launching Snowdonia Pass. This allows customers to access a number of exclusive discounts at participating attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels across North Wales for up to 12 months; available to buy online (stand B76, Visit Wales Pavilion).
Dolphin Spirit Inverness is launching Dolphins for the masses. The Moray Firth is home to a resident population of dolphins and this is a unique opportunity to see them. Their fully accessible 94 passenger vessel runs four trips daily throughout the season; private charters available (stand A11.7, Visit Scotland Pavilion).
First time exhibitors, Yorkshire Makers, Miners & Money have formed a partnership group of South-West Yorkshire venues. Partners on the stand include Wortley Hall, Wentworth Castle Heritage Trust, National Coal Mining Museum, Sheffield Industrial Museums, and Barnsley Museums, promoting the stunning stately homes built on the iron, steel and coal of the Yorkshire industrial past (stand D56).
Love Weston are joined by the international sand sculpture festival team, who will be carving a coach out of Weston-super-Mare sand – to launch their in-resort driver and passenger incentive scheme, and new website ‘Visit by Coach’. The offers will include meal deals and discounts, aimed at passengers, but will also display offers for coach drivers and tour guides, and a resource for group travel organisers to pass on to their clients (stand F46).
Holkham have improved their visitor facilities and are proud to launch a brand new ticket office, gift shop and larger café in the Stables Courtyard. The courtyard is also home to a new, state of the art ‘Field to Fork’ farming exhibition, telling the story of Holkham’s unique agricultural heritage (stand D51).
Original Shrewsbury unveils its new 2016/17 groups and coaches brochure, which will allow guests to book their whole tour programme of Shrewsbury through the Sabrina Boat booking office. The Sabrina Boat is one of the most popular attractions in Shrewsbury for groups, and is due to become even more popular by teaming up with other local attractions and businesses to offer Shrewsbury itineraries (stand H31).
Norman Allen Group Travel is previewing a brand new 2017 tour programme for coach tour operators. This will include their new tour suggestions in the UK, Ireland and Europe, as well as established tours, with limited availability that need to be booked early (stand G51).
Mill Rythe Holiday Village is introducing the new ‘Ready Steady Go!’ and ‘Electric Dreams’ shows, celebrating music and fashions from the 60s and 80s. Also promoting recent investments in new traditional British holiday camp style uniforms, refurbished rooms, bathrooms, carpets and bedding (stand H43).
Herefordshire/Rural Concierge is launching the new ‘Group Visits & Travel Trade Guide’, to help encourage more groups to visit rural areas such as: Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Powys and Carmarthenshire (stand H8).
Cedar Court Hotels is delighted to announce a further £750,000 of investment across the group in 2016. 20 new bedrooms will be completed at the Huddersfield Hotel by end of March, and a brand new restaurant at Harrogate Hotel is due to be launched in late Spring (stand C52).
First time exhibitor, Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire is offering a chance for visitors to win a four-star stay at Lowe Farm in rural north Herefordshire. This new independent destination marketing organisation is creating a tourism revolution, showcasing how to experience Herefordshire. Also artisan chocolate, cordials, and hop confetti will be sampled on the stand (stand G50).
Warner Leisure Hotels is introducing brand new holiday programmes, and a £5 million investment in a refurbishment programme, where around 500 rooms will be transformed into brand new ones. New shows for spring 2016 include Gotta Sing Gotta Dance, and Sound of the Musicals. Also, following on from guest feedback, they will be introducing a new Zorbing experience at Cricket St. Thomas, and Warner’s Walking Rugby (stand E21).
Visit the Lothians is promoting the region as a great destination right next to Edinburgh by launching its new 'Gateway to Edinburgh' itinerary. New highlights include fantastic outdoor attractions and activities to complement their inspiring itineraries featuring heritage, food, drink, shopping, and entertainment (stand A11.6, Visit Scotland Pavilion).
Devon’s Top Attractions have recently launched its ‘one stop’ information shop. Specifically designed for coach and tour operators, offering quick and easy access to visitor attraction and itinerary planning information on 40 of Devon’s leading attractions. This friendly and efficient service also offers local knowledge, image bank and useful contacts (stand E74).
The Metropole Hotel and Spa have teamed up with The Elan Valley Visitor Centre to offer tours deep inside, and onto the viewing gallery of the Victorian Dam, Pen Y Garreg. Built between 1895 and 1903, in the spectacular landscape of mid Wales (stand B67, Visit Wales Pavilion).
Cambria Tours have launched a programme of luxury pan-Wales guaranteed weekly set date departures in 2016. They are also offering weekly culinary tours of Cardiff which launched last year, and will offer visitors the chance to enjoy fresh local Welsh produce while learning about the city (stand C76).
Southport is promoting the new Southport Festival (6-8 May) – featuring music, comedy, poetry and visual arts. Also showcasing its new shops, restaurants and bars along the iconic Lord St Boulevard, and new exhibitions at The Atkinson (stand E56).
Visit Wales is promoting its 2016 ‘Year of Adventure’ campaign, designed to encourage more visitors to explore the country’s rich heritage, landscapes and culture. New exhibitors on the pavilion include Beggars Reach Hotel, The Royal Mint, Coastal Cottages of Pembrokeshire, South West Wales, Southern Wales, Torfaen County Borough Council, Wales Official Tourist Guides Association, and Cardiff Bay. Also looking ahead, they will be introducing Year of Legends in 2017 and Year of the Sea in 2018 (stand B61).
Since 1896 Snowdon Mountain Railway has been taking visitors on an adventure to the 1085m summit of Snowdon. This year the railway will be celebrating its 120th anniversary with a Traditional Diesel or Heritage Steam experience, on the highest mountain in Wales and England (stand B66, Visit Wales Pavilion).
Black Country Living Museum is showcasing its new pricing structure for parties of 15 or more, where groups visiting will pay less than they have for the last three years. Adults are now priced at £12 and seniors £10. GTOs and coach drivers will continue to go free (stand G11).
The new destination management organisation, Cotswolds Tourism, will be stand-sharing at the show with Berkeley Castle and The Royal Gardens at Highgrove, who’ve never exhibited at such an event before. It gives all three the chance to showcase the very best the Cotswolds has to offer visitors (stand F20).
In celebration of one of England’s greatest attractions and to mark the 300th anniversary of ‘Capability’ Brown, VisitEngland is promoting 2016 as the ‘Year of the English Garden’, with a PR campaign and travel trade activity throughout the year. As part of this campaign VisitEngland has launched a range of free online resources to help destinations, travel trade and garden attractions to capitalise on the campaign. This includes a Year of the English Garden logo, a number of short break itinerary ideas, and a dedicated image library (stand B87).
Merlin Entertainments is promoting its new ride and attraction experiences across the UK including Derren Brown's Ghost Train at Thorpe Park Resort, and Galactica at Alton Towers Resort. Merlin runs 110 attractions in 23 countries across four continents, aiming to deliver unique, memorable and rewarding experiences to millions of visitors (stand A21).
Wales Millennium Centre is showcasing its range of new experience packages and itineraries at the show – from whisky tasting, to techie tours. Visitors can discover the fascinating building, and the Welsh culture it stands to support and celebrate – all with exclusive travel trade rates (stand C61, Visit Wales Pavilion).
London & Partners is promoting London’s upcoming cultural highlights including the new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a whole programme of events commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the pageantry of the Queen’s 90th birthday, and the first international exhibition on British music icons, the Rolling Stones (stand B51).
Coastal Cottages of Pembrokeshire is showcasing a portfolio of over 500 cottages along the stunning Pembrokeshire coast, offering a concierge service, and providing new health and sports packages. Ideal for corporate staff rewards, independent travellers and overseas agent agreements. Weekly and short break packages available (stand C71).
Strathmore Hotels is promoting its new group packages for winter. Visitors can treat a group to a “Fizz & Fayre” experience (Harrogate), or “Drams & Dances” (Oban). All-inclusive packages are available at their 7 hotels from Jan-early March 2017, from £38pp (stand A11.5, Visit Scotland Pavilion).
Doncaster Tourism is promoting Doncaster's rich Georgian heritage. Not only is the Doncaster Cup celebrating 250 years this year as the oldest horse race in England as part of this year's St Leger Festival, but the Mansion House, opened in 1749, has just emerged from a stunning restoration of its gilded façade (stand F39).
Sheffield Industrial Museums is promoting The Sheffield 1916: Steel, Steam & Power Project, which is inspired by the River Don Engine at Kelham Island Museum – a mighty steam engine built to roll armour plate for the Dreadnought warships that fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 during the First World War. The project will include the creation of new displays about Sheffield’s major role in shipbuilding, the story of steam power and life in the city in 1916 when it was bombed during a Zeppelin raid (stand D56, Yorkshire Makers, Miners & Money).
The National Coal Mining Museum is highlighting its variety of exhibitions at the original colliery buildings and galleries, including Mining Heroes, the Health and Welfare of Miners, and more. The summer months also see a whole range of events including the annual Miners’ Gala, and Summer Fun Day (stand D56, Yorkshire Makers, Miners & Money).
Condor Ferries is promoting its group rates for day trips from Poole to Guernsey, on board its brand new £50m fast ferry. For £16.00 per adult return, a group can take a day trip and explore the beautiful islands of Guernsey and make the most of Duty Free onboard shopping (stand E11, Modern Hotels - The Mayfair Hotel, Destinations Ltd).
Grange Hotel part of the Jupiter Hotels group has undergone an extensive refurbishment, which includes the renovation of the hotel’s ground floor including the restaurant, bar, lounge and reception area, as well as the redesign of the hotel’s largest event space, The Park Suite – to provide the ideal setting to cater for all occasions. Jupiter Hotels operate 26 hotels under the Mercure brand, with hotels situated in key destinations, from Inverness to Brighton, and from Swansea to Norwich (stand G60).
Gloucester & Cheltenham is promoting Gloucester’s Summer of Music, Arts and Culture (SoMAC). Events include ‘Art in the City’, and a ‘flash’ exhibition, where the artists’ work will be judged by a panel that includes Lady Bathhurst and artist P.J. Crook and Russel Haines. 2016 will also see celebrations around Beatrix Potter’s 150th anniversary, Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival, a folk festival and a poetry festival, as well as the established Gloucester History Festival. Sailing back into the city in 2017 is the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival (27-29 May) an event that showcases Gloucester at it’s very best (stand E41)
With a portfolio of over 60 of Scotland’s finest heritage attractions, the National Trust for Scotland is offering many new developments in 2016, as well as extending a price freeze on trade rates until 31 December 2017. Also promoting its themed tours at Culzean Castle, Discovering Outlander and Scottish Ghost Stories itineraries and Inverewe House, which opens to the public soon (stand A12).
The Royal Yacht Britannia has been rated Scotland’s best visitor attraction for the 10th year in a row by VisitScotland. As the Queen celebrates her 90th birthday, there has never been a better time for a visit to her former floating palace (stand A12, the National Trust for Scotland).
Bletchley Park Trust is promoting its newest exhibition, The Petard Pinch, located in naval codebreaking Hut 8. It tells the incredible story of the capture of crucial Enigma codebooks from the U559, and gives an insight into the heroic actions of Lieutenant Anthony Fasson, Able Seaman Colin Grazier and Naafi Canteen Assistant Tommy Brown, who saved the books from a sinking U-boat. Other new exhibitions include Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence, which focuses on the Codebreaker's life and work (stand D71).
Millennium Hotels And Resorts is promoting the Beatles-inspired Hard Days Night Hotel, situated in the heart of Liverpool, in an impressive Grade II listed building, with 110 luxurious guest rooms. This boutique hotel is decorated with exclusive Beatles artwork and offers unique meetings and events spaces, as well as a popular restaurant, two bars and a live lounge (stand D61).
World of Wedgwood is promoting an array of engaging attractions that bring to life Wedgwood’s 250 years’ heritage. As well as the museum, visitors can enjoy factory tours, hands-on ceramic making, flagship store, factory outlet, contemporary Dining Hall and the Wedgwood Tea Room; open 7 days a week (stand D76).
Redefine|BDL Hotels is showcasing two new hotels at the show. This year they are opening the Courtyard by Marriott in Edinburgh and The Holiday Inn Express St Albans, bringing more variety to their growing portfolio (stand F51).
Wales' World Heritage Sites is promoting their unique stories of heritage in Wales. Whether it be a day visit, short break or a tour of Wales, they are able to provide tailor-made itineraries that meet customer's requirements. Groups, FIT and MICE travellers welcomed (stand B73 VisitWales Pavilion).
Focus Hotels Management has a new long term management contract with the brand new three-star Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre, and is promoting its ownership of the four-star Sketchley Grange Hotel & Spa in Hinckley, Leicestershire at the show (stand A1).
Genting Hotel is promoting its newest destination at the heart of Resorts World Birmingham, the UK’s first large scale resort, which opened in October 2015. The Genting Hotel is the first to open in Europe and is part of the global leisure business, The Genting Group, headquartered in Malaysia and therefore the Asian influences can be found across all aspects of the hotel (stand G81. 5).
British Tourism and Travel Show returns to the NEC Birmingham on the 16-17 March 2016. For more information and to register for a free ticket, please visit www.tourismshow.co.uk and enter priority code BTTS200 (direct link: www.eventdata.co.uk/Visitor/TourismShow.aspx?TrackingCode=BTTS200)