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).
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!