The Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO) held its 25th Anniversary Showcase Weekend on 28 to 30 October. The venue was QHotels’ Dunston Hall Hotel near Norwich.
On the Friday afternoon, AGTO CEO Mike Bugsgang introduced presentations from Pete Waters, Executive Director with Visit East Anglia, and Jason Triandafyllou, from marketing agency Designate. This was followed by a Networking Showcase with Associate Members (suppliers) giving delegates the opportunity to find out more about latest products and services.
On the Friday evening, delegates enjoyed an informal dinner, with magical entertainment by Roy Davenport from Davenport’s Magic Kingdom, and Rachel King, a very talented multi-instrumentalist.
On the Saturday, delegates took advantage of three familiarisation trips. The first visited Cromer where a Halloween open day was being held in the Pavilion Theatre at the end of the pier. The photos below reveal some of the Halloween characters that popped up during the visit. The trip then travelled along the north Norfolk coast to Sandringham House. The second fam visited Norwich Cathedral, Banham Zoo and Melford Hall. The third fam visited Wroxham Barns and Great Yarmouth and its pleasure beach, with a Southern Comfort Paddle Boat trip on the Broads. The very well turned out coaches and drivers were provided by Eastons Coaches.
On the Saturday evening, in partnership with the event’s main sponsor, made tourism marketing, delegates were entertained by West End stars Emma Hatton (‘Wicked’) and Oliver Tompsett (‘Guys and Dolls’).
Here’s a selection of photos from the weekend taken by Stuart Render and Mike Bugsgang. The photos can also be seen at www.facebook.com/stuartrendertourism.
Welcome team at Norwich station: Royston Hanks and Maria Maltby. On the right is Colin Hayman from the event transport provider, Eastons Coaches
QHotels’ Dunston Hall Hotel
The AGTO registration team
Swapping their sea legs for time ashore! Ellie Fulcher and Sophie Austin from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines check in
GTOs James and Marilyn Sylvester take time to enjoy the pianist in the hotel lounge. He seems to be enjoying it too.
AGTO CEO Mike Bugsgang gets the Friday afternoon presentations under way
Mike Bugsgang welcomes members, associates and guests
Pete Waters, Executive Director with Visit East Anglia
Jason Triandafyllou from marketing agency Designate offered a few thoughts on attracting new business
AGTO Board members Tina Price (Blueprint Travel Media), Mike Bugsgang, Natalie Browne (made tourism marketing) and Brian Langford (Lucketts Travel) with delegates promoting the recently introduced ‘Ambassador’ scheme.
The Friday afternoon networking showcase gave AGTO Associates the opportunity to highlight new products and services. This is Tim Fleming and Rebecca Dance from Diamond Holidays
Stuart Parker from InterChoice Holidays
Helen Mulry and Stefania Lazurca from HF Holidays
Feet firmly on dry land, Ellie Fulcher and Sophie Austin from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
The smiling duo of David Lote and Harold Burke from Just for Groups!
Ollie Burton from BBC Tours
Claire Burgin, Sarah Holt (editor) and Sue Fletcher from Group Leisure Magazine
Brian Langford from Lucketts Travel.
Bobby Szente from Ripley’s Believe it or Not! London.
Jo Thomson from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, catching up on a bit of product
Jackie Cook and Lesley McDermott from Success Tours
Lianne Messis and Tricia Regan from South Quay Travel
Sophie Dennington from Potters Resort with one of the GTOs
Hilary Christmas from Norman Allen Group Travel
Amanda Casey and Agata Rusinek from the family-owned and run Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton, with GTO Jill White
Roy Davenport, from Davenport’s Magic Kingdom, tries to confound GTO Len White
Sue Day from West Midland Safari Park with GTO Keith Prince
More smiling faces. GTO Bob Walker, centre, with Mark Wilson and John Bullock from Rondo Travel
Adrian Millan from Switzerland Travel Centre
David Townend from Constantinou Bros Hotels Cyprus offers some refreshment to GTO Clive Roylance
Amy O’Donovan from Royal Museums Greenwich with GTOs
Daryl Bennett from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Siobhan Harrison from English Heritage
Lesley Terrell from Historic Royal Palaces
Sergio Cicalo from Encore Tickets with a GTO
Down at ground level for a change is Lucy Hillyard from the View from the Shard
Clearly delighted to be hosting the event is Alan Lloyd from QHotels
Paul Palmer from Collette
Bernard Jones from TLH Leisure Resort with GTO Enid Pamment
Graham Hopcraft (left) from Condor Ferries with GTOs. Among the usual leaflets and brochures was a perfume display. The message was clear. Travelling to Guernsey for a day trip means that you could buy perfume on board and save money. A nice bit of creative thinking for a stand display, and it certainly caught the attention of GTOs, and other suppliers.
Family affair! Mary and Lesley Marshall from Tripcenter
John Gibbs from Gosport Tourism
Simon Dodds and Tina Price from Blueprint Travel Media
Bobby Szente and Mike Bugsgang
Multi-instrumentalist Rachel King entertained on the Friday evening with violin, alto sax, pan pipes and clarinet
Called up on stage, Sergio Cicalo looks set for a soaking as Roy Davenport performs the ‘glass full of water’ trick. Sergio emerged unscathed, and dry, from the ordeal
Lesley Terrell handles an ‘invisible egg’. No comment!
The very nicely presented vehicles of Eastons Coaches prepare to leave Dunston Hall on the Saturday familiarisation trips. Nice bit of parking chaps!
“Yes, I’m definitely on this coach.”
Excellent presentation from Eastons
A beautiful sunny day at Cromer Pier
Traditional Punch and Judy show on Cromer Pier
It was a Halloween Open Day at Cromer Pier’s Pavilion Theatre. The tour guide for a behind-the-scenes tour was Deb Lewis, Box Office Manager, and part-time ghoul
“He’s behind you!” GTOs hear from Deb Lewis about Cromer’s famous ‘End of the Pier Show’
Lurking under the Pavilion Theatre stage, and making occasional forays into the auditorium, was the ‘Theatre ghost’. We asked for her name. She didn’t tell us. Well, ghosts can’t speak!
Oh these theatre people! Another member of the Pavilion Theatre team enters into the Halloween spirit. Perhaps he saw us coming!
All aboard for the journey via the scenic north Norfolk coast to Sandringham House
The team at Sandringham House laid on a delightful afternoon tea
Two days after this visit, Sandringham House closed for the winter, and to prepare for the arrival of the Queen.
Even the visitor shuttle is posh at Sandringham
There’s a fascinating collection of the royal Rolls’ and other official cars from over the years
Ah, the official photograph. A few of the group at the end of their day out to Cromer, the north Norfolk coast and Sandringham House
Meanwhile, over at Banham Zoo…
Sunshine on the Norfolk Broads
It’s the law. Wherever GTOs gather, there has to be a group photo!
No group photo, but a tour guide in full flow on the walking tour of Norwich
On the Saturday evening it was time to celebrate AGTO’s 25th anniversary
A selection of photos of GTOs, Associates (suppliers) and guests arriving for the anniversary dinner. Cheers!
Inside the function room: Sergio Cicalo, Robert Easton, Maggie Wright and David Steele
Sue Day and Stuart Parker
Stefania Lazurca, Helen Mulry and Harold Burke
Agata Rusinek and Amanda Casey from the family-owned and run Rendezvous Hotel in Skipton, the ‘Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales’
David and Jane Lote and GTO delegates
Graham Hopcraft and Alan Lloyd
Ellie Fulcher, Sophie Austin and Ollie Burton
Lesley Terrell and Lucy Hillyard
Bobby Szente with Jonathan Mountford (left) and Adam Reeves from main sponsor made tourism marketing
Mike Bugsgang with Natalie Browne and Jonathan Mountford from main sponsor made tourism marketing
West End royalty. Oliver Tompsett (Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls) and Emma Hatton (Elphaba in Wicked) provided first class entertainment perfoming two sets of songs from West End musicals
Congratulations AGTO! Here’s to the next 25 years.