The National Coach Tourism Awards (NCTA), the leading national awards scheme for the coach tourism industry, has been relaunched as the British Coach Tourism Awards (BCTA).
Organiser Diversified Communications has also taken the opportunity to introduce a new brand identity as it moves to fully integrate the awards with the British Tourism & Travel Show.
The renaming and rebranding completes a move started in March 2016 when the awards moved from being a stand-alone event to be part of the British Tourism & Travel Show.
The renaming and rebranding was announced this week as the search begins for the winners of the British Coach Tourism Awards 2017.
Entries are now being invited for 18 awards. The closing date for entries is 6 January with a list of finalists due to be announced shortly after. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 22 March at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.
For full details, go to www.britishcoachawards.co.uk
Since launching in 2005, the National Coach Tourism Awards has established itself as a major event in the coach tourism calendar.
Over those years, the awards categories have been finely tuned to give most sectors of the coach tourism industry the opportunity to battle it out with their direct competitors. It is this focus on giving the industry what it needs that has helped to bring continued success, both in terms of the number of entries and in the number of coach tourism professionals attending the presentation evening.
In 2016, organiser Diversified Communications moved the presentation evening to become part of the British Tourism & Travel Show, attracting new involvement from exhibitors and visitors to the two-day trade show. Now, as the search for the 2017 winners is launched, Diversified Communications has relaunched the scheme, introducing a new name and brand identity.
In addition to recognising the best coach tour operators, the focus remains on destinations, visitor attractions and suppliers who can demonstrate a commitment to being ‘coach friendly’.
It’s important to note that the BCTA categories are always ‘…of the Year’ and relate only to the year in question. This ensures a differentiation from the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK’s ‘Coach Friendly Visitor Attraction Status’, and ‘Coach Friendly Towns, Cities and Villages Status’ which is an ongoing recognition.
While many of the award categories for 2017 will be familiar, there are some new awards, and a handful of others have changed.
New for 2017 is the ‘Accessibility Award’, recognising destinations, attractions, hotels and tour operators that can demonstrate a strong policy for accessible travel.
Also new is ‘European Coach Friendly Visitor Attraction of the Year’, separating continental European visitor attractions out from the hitherto combined UK/continental European award. It’s an interesting differential in light of the new ‘British’ focus.
The long-standing ‘Cross-Sea Carrier’ award has been merged with the ‘River and Inland Cruise Operator’ category. In comes the ‘Sea, Canal and Inland Riverboat Carrier of the Year’. It’s a surprising move as these are very different industry sectors. It seem likely then that we may see the likes of Ullswater Steamers and Windermere Lake Cruises in direct competition with DFDS, P&O Ferries and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.
There’s a similar challenge looming in the accommodation category. The two separate categories for hotel groups and individual hotels have been combined, resulting in a single category for what is a hugely important industry sector. It’s an equally surprising move.
The ‘Coach Monthly Special Award’ has been renamed ‘The British Coach Tourism Recognition Award’. The website indicates that the award will be presented to someone who has made an “extraordinary contribution to the industry”.
But what makes entering the BCTA worthwhile is the reputational benefit to be gained by either being a finalist or winning. These awards have always stood out from others because of the way in which the organisers supply finalists and winners with PR support.
The BCTA is the only national awards scheme that specifically focuses on coach tourism. But winning an award, or being a finalist is only part of the story. What really matters is the business benefit that follows as a result.
Full details of the BCTA can be seen at www.britishcoachawards.co.uk.