Month: January 2017

Shortlist – British Coach Tourism Awards 2017

Here’s the shortlist for the British Coach Tourism Awards 2017 – formerly the National Coach Tourism Awards.

For full details of how how to buy tickets for the awards evening on Wednesday 22 March at the National Motorcycle Museum at the NEC, Birmingham, go to www.britishcoachawards.co.uk

Congratulations to all those who made the shortlist.

Coach Friendly Destination of the Year

Coach Friendly Visitor Attraction of the Year
Blenheim Palace
Bodleian Libraries
Chester Zoo
Ripley’s London
The World of James Herriot
West Midland Safari Park
Woburn Abbey and Gardens

European Coach Friendly Attraction – sponsored by DFDS
La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux
Efteling Park, the Netherlands
Keukenhof, the Netherlands
Parc Astérix, France
Titanic Belfast, Northern Ireland

Sea, Canal, Inland Riverboat Carrier of the Year
– sponsored by Edward Coaches

Condor Ferries
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
Sabrina Boat
Stuart Line Cruises
Windermere Lake Cruises

Heritage Railway of the Year
Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Vale of Rheidol Railway

Accommodation Provider of the Year
Away Resorts – Mill Rythe
Freedom Hotels
Hilton Worldwide
Marriott Hotels
Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton
The Metropole Hotel and Spa, Llandrindod Wells
Warner Leisure Hotels

Tour Wholesaler of the Year – sponsored by Planet Hollywood & Ripley’s London
Action Tours
Albatross Travel
Greatdays Travel Group
Groups Direct
Hospitality Line
Norman Allen Group Travel

Holiday Programme of the Year
Crusader Holidays
Epsom Coaches
Glenton Holidays
Harry Shaw
Johnsons Coach Travel
Shearings Holidays

Day Excursion Programme of the Year – sponsored by Warner Leisure Hotels  www.warnerleisurehotels.co.uk
Eastons Coaches
Epsom Coaches
Gardiners NMC
Walton’s Coach Hire
Whittles Coaches

Accessibility Award
BBC Tours at Mediacity UK
Chester Zoo
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Speyside Cooperage Visitor Centre

Coach Tour Operator Brochure of the Year – sponsored by Hospitality Line
Crusader Holidays
Eastons Coaches
Epsom Coaches
Glenton Holidays
Roberts Travel Group
Rover European
Shearings Holidays

Coach Tourism Innovation of the Year
Advantage Now – ‘Accommodation Service’
Epsom Coaches – ‘Swiftbreaks’
Groups Direct – ‘Ambassador Scheme’
Galloway Coach Travel – ‘School of Rock coach’
Leisuretime – ‘Supporting Wales at Euro 2016’
Visit By Coach – ‘One-stop Passenger Incentives’

Coach Tourism Professional of the Year (team or individual)
Helen Ward, Group Specialist, Groups Direct
Jim McAleese, Good Companions Host, Glenton Holidays
Kevin Miller and Claire MacDonald, Business Partners, Eclipse Breaks
Lisa Weaver, Groups Co-ordinator, Woburn Abbey and Gardens
Martin Slater, National Sales Manager, Greatdays Travel Group
Martyn Stagg, National Coach Sales Manager, Warner Leisure Hotels
Oli Williams, Dance Holidays and Events Co-ordinator, IOW Tours

Coach Tour Driver of the Year – sponsored by Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
Driver team at Crusader Holidays
Ian George, Shearings Holidays
Paul Hodgkinson, Moffat & Williamson/Glenton
Scotty Law, Blacks of Brechin
Shôn Rees, Midway Motors
Trevor Robson, Scarlet Band

Coach Tour Operator of the Year – Small Fleet (1-5 coaches)
Houghs of Lincolnshire
Kardan Travel
IOW Tours
Tally Ho! Holidays

Coach Tour Operator of the Year – Medium Fleet (6-15 coaches) – sponsored by Roadchef
Bayliss Executive Travel
Crusader Holidays
Eastons Coaches
Highland Explorer Tours
Roberts Travel Group
Whittles Coaches

Coach Tour Operator of the Year – Large Fleet (more than 15 coaches) – sponsored by Wrightsure
Edwards Coach Holidays
Johnsons Coach Travel
Lucketts Travel
Roselyn Coaches
Shearings Holidays

British Coach Tourism Awards 2017 shortlist

Tourism trends for the year ahead

Tourism trends for the year ahead were highlighted at The Tourism Society’s annual ‘Prospects’ briefing held at the offices of The Crown Estate in central London on 17 January.

Delegates heard from a panel of distinguished speakers representing different tourism sectors: Denise Bridges, managing director of Albatross Travel, and chair of the Coach Tourism Association; Richard Nicholls, head of research and forecasting with VisitBritain; Kurt Janson, director of tourism alliance; and Derek Moore, chairman of AITO.

Tourism Society tourism trends 2017 seminar
Leading the discussion (l-r) Derek Moore (AITO), Denise Bridges (Albatross Travel/Coach Tourism Association, Noel Josephides (ABTA), Kurt Janson (The Tourism Alliance), and Richard Nicholls (VisitBritain)

The panel was chaired by Noel Josephides, chairman of ABTA.

The panel discussion covered a wide range of topics that will impact on inbound and outbound travel including exchange rates, VAT, the importance of green credentials, ageing demographics, refreshed products, and the Foreign Office.

Richard Nicholls reported that inbound visits to the UK were predicted to rise this year by 4% and spending by 8%. This would generate up to 150,000 new tourism jobs, but there was concern about where the workforce would be found with continuing uncertainty surrounding the movement of workers and Britain’s relationship with the EU. All the panellists agreed that tourism and travel remained good sectors to work in. In addition to the more obvious opportunities for product and marketing roles it was highlighted that there’s also a need for accountants, designers and other skills. With changes ahead in how the UK works with the rest of the world, there are good opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Tourism Society tourism trends 2017 seminar
Richard Nicholls from VisitBritain presented key tourism statistics

Delegates were told that the growth in the ‘sharing economy’, notably Airbnb, was starting to have an effect on traditional hotel occupancy rates in major cities.

Denise Bridges said that growth in the domestic market is likely to push up hotel rates, a move that could generate a negative impact on the traditional coach tourism demographic.

Derek Moore told delegates that, in general, people are expecting to pay more for their holidays, but are expecting a high quality in return.

Kurt Janson said that on VAT, while the industry would still like to see a reduction, the government was now more concerned about its balance of payments. With a weaker pound and record visitor numbers in 2015 and 2016 it was harder to present a strong case for a reduction in VAT, so any movement looked unlikely.

The panel discussion included recent news stories about the possibility of a new tourism tax being trialled in tourist hotspots. The point was made that while local authorities see this as an easy way of raising much-needed revenue, in reality, it can dissuade people from staying overnight, so reducing the overall spend at a destination.

Tourism Society tourism trends 2017 seminar
Greg Yeoman of The Tourism Society welcomed delegates to the annual ‘Prospects 2017’

Delegates were reminded that older customers will be a key market across all sectors, with time available and money to spend. But while they may feel young at heart these clients will need to be realistic about what they can achieve and operators will have to offer itineraries and facilities that reflect this. Refreshed itineraries, including more experiential and unusual elements, will also be more in evidence as customers choose to do more than just visit a destination.

Delegates were also reminded that operating into continental Europe post-Brexit will still require us to conform to European regulations.

Greg Yeoman, executive director at the Tourism Society, says: “With so much political activity on the horizon it has been a tough job for the speakers this year to give confident and unqualified predictions. The level of debate has been excellent as always, though, and delegates left with plenty of great insights into what will influence their businesses in the months ahead.”

‘Prospects 2017’ was sponsored by BDRC Continental and The Crown Estate.

For more information about The Tourism Society, go to www.tourismsociety.org



Stoke Rochford Hall sold to Talash Hotels

The lease on Stoke Rochford Hall, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, has been sold by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to Talash Hotels Group for an undisclosed sum.

The Grade I listed, 96-bedroom hotel, set in a 28-acre estate, is a popular hotel with coach tour operators and group travel organisers, has been used by the NUT as a conference and training centre since 1978. The freehold of the Victorian property is owned by Stoke Rochford Estate.

Talash Hotels Group is based in Royal Leamington Spa. The acquisition of Stoke Rochford Hall brings the group’s portfolio to nine and includes the Quorn Country hotel in Quorn, Leicestershire, Risley Hall Hotel and Spa in Derbyshire, Chimney House Hotel near Crewe, Cheshire and the Huntly Arms Hotel in Aboyne, near Ballater, Scotland,

Talash Hotels is operated by the Kathuria family,

Stoke Rochford Hall is a member of the Irish-based Great National Hotels and Resorts marketing consortium.

For more information, go to www.talashhotels.com

Stoke Rochford Hall sold to Talash Hotels
Stoke Rochford Hall has been sold to Talash Hotels