Solo travel as part of a group is thriving, according to Debbie Marshall, managing director of Silver Travel Advisor, the website for the over 50s mature traveller.
She was presenting to members of the Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO) at the AGTO Showcase Weekend 2020 that took place at the end of February at Ettington Chase Hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon.
She told the 115 delegates that a growing number of solo travellers are choosing to travel on their own but as part of a group, often because they no longer have a partner to travel with, or by choice, either choosing to travel with girlfriends or simply because their partner doesn’t want to go with them.
She explained that around a quarter of people surveyed by Silver Travel Advisor said that the benefit of travelling with an organised group was because it allowed them to travel as a single person but have someone else organise everything for them. A third of respondents said that having everything organised for them would encourage them to travel with a group.
This year’s AGTO Showcase Weekend included presentations from Helen Peters, chief executive of Shakespeare’s England, who said that renewed efforts are being made to encourage visitors to stop-over in the region rather than simply visit on a day trip. Shakespeare’s England also arranged four familiarisation trips that included Warwick and Kenilworth Castles, the British Motor Museum and Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
The popular AGTO Associates’ Exhibition saw around 60 tourism suppliers meeting with GTO members from around the UK. A highlight of the event was the Gala Dinner, sponsored by made Tourism Marketing with a 1920s ‘Peaky Blinders’ theme. The prize for ‘Best Dressed’ guest went to Matt Coulter from the groups and travel trade team at Historic Royal Palaces.
Commenting on the event, AGTO chief executive Wendy Hartley-Scarff says: “The annual AGTO Showcase Weekend provides a catalyst for GTOs and our Associate supplier members to network and socialise. This year’s programme, supported by Shakespeare’s England, made Tourism Marketing and Cruise & Maritime Voyages, provided our GTO members with lots of inspiration and ideas to take back to their groups. It also gave our Associate supplier members the opportunity to find out more about the changing expectations of group travel organisers.”
The Association of Group Travel Organisers is an independent organisation representing the interests of those who organise tours and trips for groups as well as those who provide services for group travel. The Association has over 400 group travel organiser members and around 250 supplier members.
Here’s a selection of other photos from the AGTO Showcase Weekend 2020.