Chief Executive Mike Bugsgang reports on the Association of Group Travel Organisers’ current activities


Mike Bugsgang, Chief Executive, AGTO (left) and Kurt Janson, Director, The Tourism Alliance.

Mike Bugsgang, Chief Executive, AGTO (left) and
Kurt Janson, Director, The Tourism Alliance.

The past few weeks have seen some very positive developments for the Association with the appointment of new directors, membership of The Tourism Alliance and the prospect of valuable group travel research by Visit England. NEW DIRECTORS Following a ballot among our associate supplier members, AGTO has appointed seven new directors to sit on the Board. The new directors bring considerable experience to the Association and are drawn from a wide cross section of the group travel industry including coach and tour operating, cruise agency, publishing and marketing. AGTO’s newly elected directors are: ● Natalie Browne, Made Tourism Marketing; ● John Bullock, Rondo Travel; ● Martin Hay, Go Cruise; ● Alex Jacobs, Northern Secrets; ● Brian Langford, Lucketts Travel; ● Tina Price, Blueprint Travel Media; and ● Elodie Salom, Pierre et Vacances.

London Eye

London Eye

Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall

The above-named join the existing seven group travel organiser directors who represent each of AGTO’s branches nationwide. The in-depth industry experience that these new directors bring will further strengthen the Association’s positioning as the voice of the group travel sector. Furthermore, their input will prove invaluable in ensuring that AGTO’s strategic aims are delivered.


has become a member of The Tourism Alliance which comprises leading trade associations/trade bodies within the tourism industry. The purpose of The Tourism Alliance is to identify and develop policies and strategies to raise standards and promote quality within the industry. Also, to work with and lobby Government on all key issues relevant to the growth and development of tourism and its contribution to the economy. It is therefore important that AGTO is engaged with this work to enable us to keep our members updated on the various aspects of legislation affecting the group travel sector.

For some time, AGTO has been liaising with VisitEngland’s Research Department regarding the possibility of more statistical data on the group travel market, especially a better understanding of the barriers and motivations to developing England itineraries. We are therefore delighted that VisitEngland agrees that there would be value in commissioning new research among the travel trade, to include the groups market. This project is expected to start by reviewing existing research, but new primary research is also planned.

Members of AGTO’s Kent Branch were recently hosted by English Heritage on a visit to Eltham Palace and Gardens in south east London. On a glorious day, a brilliant guide transported them back to the 1930s to experience a decade of decadence (just in time for cocktail hour!). Created for millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, Eltham Palace is part showpiece of Art Deco design and 1930s cutting-edge technology, and part medieval royal palace. Eltham Palace is an ideal destination for groups of all ages and its Orchid House Café serves scrumptious cakes as the Kent members will readily testify!

NEW MEMBERS Two of the biggest names in group travel have become AGTO members.  Royal Albert Hall – The world’s leading figures in music, dance, sport and politics have appeared on its stage since it opened in 1871. Now over 1.7 million people enjoy live experiences every year, with millions more experiencing events through broadcasts, recordings and new media channels. The iconic venue is open to the public during the day for tours of the building and free exhibitions. Merlin Entertainments London – Coca – Cola London Eye, Madame Tussauds London, SEA LIFE London Aquarium, The London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventure! London.
~DIARY DATES ● AGTO AGM, Excursions Show, Alexandra Palace, January 28, 2017. For more information:

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