Tour operators from all over the UK sampled the delights of a delightful and, for many, a surprising city last week. Hull – which was crowned UK City of Culture in 2017 – was hosting a group of coach and tour operators and GTOs during the 2019 Visit Hull Group Buyer Showcase, and Group Travel World magazine was also in attendance.

Reading like a who’s who of coach tourism the delegates included Crusader Holidays from Aylesbury; Norman Allen Group Travel from Hereford; Albatross Travel from Kent; Grey’s Travel Group from Barnsley; Roadmark Travel from Sussex; Leon’s Holidays from Staffordshire and Brilliant Tours from Liverpool. Based at the conveniently located and high quality Hilton Double Tree Hotel Hull just beside the Central Railway Station and the Hull Truck Company, the event was arranged by Visit Hull working in conjunction with UK travel trade specialists Steve Reed Tourism Ltd. Well known coach operator Paul Acklam of Acklam’s Coaches kindly provided the coach transport for the groups during the showcase. In addition, the Confederation of Passenger Transport [CPT] was in attendance as well as coach driver national body Coach-Buddy.

A welcome dinner at the Marco Pierre White’s restaurant at the Double Tree Hotel preceded a walking tour of Hull concluding at the Maritime Museum where the attendees met Malcolm Dunn of Yorkshire’s Maritime Cities initiative. Led by Tour Guide Paul Scofield, the group took in a highly enjoyable tour of the Taphouse Brewery and dinner at the Ambiente Restaurant – both on the famous Humber Street food, drink and entertainment area of Hull. And a very special ale tour of Hull’s historic and uniquely quaint pubs cheered the operators.

On the next day the VIP visitors – each with the buying power to bring lots of spending coach parties back to the area – took in a visit to Hull’s impressive Museum Quarter followed by lunch and a tour of Hull Minster. And for some of the group a stunning roof top tour of this historic building. As well as the tour of Hull Minster, the attendees were also able to enjoy a unique insight in the world famous Sistine Chapel within the Minster itself. Rome came to Hull.

Next on the fact-finding itinerary was Hull’s iconic attraction The Deep. Here the buyers were treated to tours of this fascinating aquarium – located right on the banks of the River Humber – and took part in a special face to face business workshop where they met Hull tourism businesses in a series of meetings.

Tina Mott from Visit Hull says: ‘The group of tour visitors were undoubtedly impressed by what they saw, ate, drank and experienced in Hull. We’ve always believed that the best way to ensure that coaches full of passengers keep coming back to our great city is to show the decision makers themselves what we have to offer,’ says Tina. ‘The easy proximity of our super attractions and hotels is one of the key factors in attracting groups. Hull is flat and accessible for most visitors and has lovely surprises in store aplenty once they arrive.’

Like many other first time visitors the group expressed delight at the attractiveness, variety and high quality of the attractions around the city. The Old Town, Museums Quarter and Humber Street area proved to be memorable for all.

Steve Reed, MD of Steve Reed Tourism and ‘Champion’ of nationwide GTO club Travel World Association, adds: ‘Hull never fails to surprise and delight visitors. I love to see the faces of first-time tourists when they survey the beautiful Georgian Old Town; the sheer quality of the free and superb museums; the charm and welcoming atmosphere of the lovely old pubs and hostelries and Hull’s excellent hotels.’

Anyone wishing to have more information about bringing groups to Hull should contact Tina Mott on +44(0)1482 391536, email tina.mott@vhey.co.uk or visit https://www.visithullandeastyorkshire.com/group/

PHOTO: Group Travel World magazine editor, Helen Milbank (right), joined the Hull showcase