Month: April 2018

Group Tourism & Travel Magazine makes its final journey

After a journey that started in 1982 under the title Coach Monthly, trade publication Group Tourism & Travel Magazine has reached its final destination.

In a statement issued on 6 April, publisher Diversified Communications UK announced that the monthly magazine had published its last issue (April 2018).


Group Tourism & Travel magazine
The final cover of Group Tourism & Travel Magazine, and the end of an era

Diversified has also closed the magazine’s website together with its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Carsten Holm, managing director of Diversified Communications UK, says: “Like any business, we are alive to the market trends and have to adjust our portfolio as the market continues to evolve. This decision allows us to put even more focus and effort into our other successful brands and developing new ones for the sector.

“The British Coach Tourism Awards, the Coach Drivers’ Club, our online offerings, and the highly successful Coach Tourism Yearbook will also continue to benefit from ongoing investment. Other exciting ideas are also in the pipeline. Diversified maintains trade-mark ownership of Coach Monthly and Group Tourism & Travel and is considering opportunities for the future of these well-loved brands.

“We are very grateful to all our readers and customers for their continued support and we look forward to continuing to serve this important sector through our market-leading products.”

The final decision to close the magazine appears to have been made after the April issue had gone to press. The magazine carries details of features that were due to appear in the May issue including a look at the wartime legacy in Wallonia (southern Belgium) and northern France.

The closure comes at the same time as the departure of editor Jessamy Hudson whose baby is due in May. Samantha Noble, tourism sales manager, and Tim Farr, tourism sales executive are also understood to have left the company.


The news of the closure of Group Tourism & Travel Magazine was a surprise, but perhaps not unexpected. The change of title in March 2017, from Coach Monthly to Group Tourism & Travel Magazine, was a positive move by Diversified Communications to align the magazine more closely with its flagship British Tourism & Travel Show and with the wider groups market.

Coach Monthly, which began life in 1982 as the membership magazine for the Coach Drivers’ Club, and then developed into a stand-alone magazine in 2005, always stood out from the other trade magazines circulating in the group and coach tourism sector. The name of the magazine often generated comment for its quirkiness, but at its heart was a focus on the specific needs of coach tour operators, delivering a one-stop source of news and features aimed at helping them to understand what was happening in their industry as well as giving them inspiration and information to help them put together tours and excursions.

As editor of Coach Monthly from March 2010 to February 2016, I feel a degree of sadness about the closure of the magazine. During my tenure my mission was to make Coach Monthly something special, a magazine aimed at helping coach tour operators and the supplier side understand more about each other’s challenges, products and services.

But times were changing. Trade magazines depend on advertising support, and owners Diversified Communications recognised that widening the focus of the magazine to appeal to group travel organisers would help attract additional advertising. The change of name to Group Tourism & Travel Magazine in March 2017 reinforced this move. But of course, the result was to see GT&T, as the magazine became known, fighting for the same pot of available advertising revenue as the other long-established group magazines. As Carsten Holm so rightly points out, like any business, Diversified is alive to market trends and has to adjust its portfolio as the market continues to evolve.

However, it’s also important to note Carsten’s comment that this allows the company to put even more focus and effort into its other successful brands and developing new ones for the sector.

The coach tourism community, and coach tour operators in particular, value products that reflect their specific interests and requirements. Group Tourism & Travel Magazine may well have reached its final destination, but in an industry renowned for its innovation, and for refreshing, reinventing and reinvigorating its products, something tells me that it won’t be too long before we see something new hitting the streets.

Over the years, Group Tourism & Travel Magazine and Coach Monthly have taken us on some memorable journeys. Here’s to the next adventure!

British Tourism & Travel Show 2018 sees 10% increase in visitor numbers

The organiser of the British Tourism & Travel Show 2018 has announced that visitor numbers were up by 10% compared to 2017.

Diversifed Communications says that the event, which took place at the NEC in Birmingham on 21 and 22 March, welcomed 2,866 attendees. The official show catalogue indicated the number of exhibiting companies to be around 250. The company says the final number was more than 270.

British Tourism & Travel Show
Sammi Rudge and Steve Christian from Visit Southport launching the new ‘Southport Pick ‘n’ Mix’ product for groups

“The show was a fantastic success,” says David Maguire, event director. “The buzz on site was electric this year, with an array of pop up entertainment performances surprising visitors, coupled with over 270 exhibiting companies. Big names joined us in the Keynote Theatre including national treasure Angela Rippon. Visitor numbers reached a record high and we can’t wait to get to work on the next edition taking place on 20-21 March 2019 at the NEC, Birmingham.

British Tourism & Travel Show
The team from the Rendezvous Hotel and Visit Skipton were promoting ‘The Real Yorkshire Experience’

Comments about the show collated by Diversified Communications include:

“Another great show highlighting the best of British tourism, giving a great opportunity to meet attractions and customers and catch up on what is going on in the tourism world.”
Roger Bailey, Coventry Blue Badge Tourist Guide.

“Although a 200-mile return journey, the show was a great way to source new ideas, make new contacts, put names to faces and catch up with long standing and current contacts.”
Geoff Allen, director, Travallen Travel & Events.

British Tourism & Travel Show
If it’s the British Tourism & Travel Show it must be a new Group Travel Guide from Greatdays Travel Group

“As a U3A organiser we found all the stands representatives very helpful, organised, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. They were experienced in putting together suitable packages for day trips, giving us lots of ideas on how to organise our excursions. A very helpful and useful day out, which was also very enjoyable.”
Barbara Ashworth, U3A groups organiser.

“It was super to see so many GTOs as well as tour operators at the show; many thanks indeed to Happy Days Holidays for their great efforts [in providing the shuttle coaches], and thanks to the brilliant attractions.”
Steve Reed, Steve Reed Tourism and director of AGTO (Association of Group Travel Organisers).

British Tourism & Travel Show
Ken Wright and his team from the Phoenix Artist Club in London’s West End entertained visitors with a musical interlude

The show also presented its first ‘GTO Special Recognition Award’, in partnership with AGTO, to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of group travel organisers within the tourism sector. The award went to Mary Gotts, GTO for Ver-Colne Valley U3A. The citation praised her “methodical” and “professional” attitude to groups, commenting that “she works tirelessly to ensure her group have the best holidays ever”.

The British Tourism & Travel Show 2019 takes place on 20-21 March 2019. To see the full press release issued by Diversified Communications, go to www.tourismshow.co.uk/british-tourism-travel-show-reports-1…

British Tourism & Travel Show
Television presenter Angela Rippon waits to take the stage for the show’s keynote speech
British Tourism & Travel Show
Some of the entertainments team from Mill Rythe Holiday Village on Hayling Island put on a right old song and dance

British Coach Tourism Awards 2018 winners

The British Coach Tourism Awards 2018 took place on 21 March at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

British Coach Tourism Awards 2018
The winners of the British Coach Tourism Awards 2018

Here’s who won:

Coach Friendly Destination

Coach Friendly Attraction
National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire
Highly Commended – Belleek Pottery

European Coach Friendly Attraction
Lovers Canal Cruises, Amsterdam

Cross-Sea Carrier
Condor Ferries

River and Inland Cruise Operator
Broads Tours

Heritage Railway
West Somerset Railway

Accommodation Provider – independent hotels
Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton
‘The Yorkshire Hotel by the Canal’

Accommodation Provider – hotel groups
Hilton Worldwide

Tour Wholesaler and Industry Supplier
ICT Group Travel

Dining Experience
Bateaux London
Highly Commended – Planet Hollywood

Theatre Production
42nd Street

Holiday Programme
Gardiners NMC
Highly Commended – Lucketts

Day Excursion Programme
Shaws of Maxey

Coach Tourism Innovation of the Year
Travel by Knight – mini sleeper coach

Coach Tourism Professional of the Year
Adrian Smith, Melanie Cox and Alistair Scott, Gardiners NMC

Coach Tour Driver of the Year
Michael Blowers, Bakers Dolphin
Highly Commended – Miriam Unsworth, self-employed

Coach Tour Operator – small fleet
Hough’s of Lincolnshire

Coach Tour Operator – medium fleet
Bayliss Executive Travel

Coach Tour Operator – large fleet
Bakers Dolphin

The British Coach Tourism Recognition Award
Brian Way, Wayahead Travel.
A posthumous award. Brian died last year.

The event was attended by around 400 coach tourism professionals and guests. It was hosted by television presenter Angela Rippon.

For more information, go to www.britishcoachawards.co.uk

British Coach Tourism Awards 2018