Welcome to the first in a new series of articles from the Association of Group Travel Organisation (AGTO) with Mike Bugsgang.

Mike Bugsgang CEO AGTO

Mike Bugsgang CEO AGTO

According to group travel organisers (GTOs), one of the most valued benefits of AGTO membership is being kept up-to-date with the legal implications and obligations of being an organiser. Post Brexit, this has been brought even more sharply in to focus with the pending revisions to the Package Travel Directive and the ways they could impact on GTOs. In addition to free legal assistance and advice for GTOs, AGTO members enjoy exclusive access to a highly competitive Liability Insurance Scheme specifically catering to the needs of organisers. Unlike many other trade associations, AGTO has seven regional Branches around the UK which enable GTOs to meet regularly within their own area to network with Associate members and participate in fam trips as well as attending seminars on group travel related issues.

Dunston Hall Front

Dunston Hall Front

SHOWCASE WEEKEND
The AGTO Silver Anniversary Showcase Weekend will take place at Dunston Hall Hotel, Norwich, on October 2830, 2016. The event brings together group organisers and associate members from all over the UK to participate in an exciting programme of business and social sessions. Showcase highlights include a great choice of specially tailored familiarisation trips to attractions including Norwich UNESCO City of Literature, Sandringham and Great Yarmouth.Other elements of the Showcase programme include a special welcome from Visit East Anglia, a marketing seminar, AGTO Branch AGMs, networking sessions and an anniversary dinner with entertainment arranged by headline sponsor, Made. This will be a very special event as we will be marking the Association’s 25th anniversary. The Showcase will provide a great opportunity for our members to get together to plan their itineraries for 2017 and beyond, as well as experiencing a part of Britain that is particularly popular with groups. Initial reaction to the Showcase Weekend has been enthusiastically received by AGTO members and we are expecting a record attendance for this landmark event in the Association’s history. Information and booking details of the AGTO Showcase can be found at www.agto. co.uk

AGTO Handbook 16 FC

AGTO Handbook

AGM ANNOUNCEMENT
Our AGM will be held at the Excursions trade show at Alexandra Palace on Saturday January 28, 2017. The meeting will be staged in a large AGTO area that only members can gain access to for the AGM. However, the AGTO area will be open to all visitors to the show for the rest of the day and the Association, together with Tourism South East, is arranging presentations that will be of interest to group organisers. This is something of a departure from our usual AGM event as in the recent past we have held the meeting over a weekend. But following feedback from our members, the majority of whom attend the Excursions show and take advantage of the special travel arrangements, we believe this is the best option. “We are excited about this move and especially grateful to ‘made tourism marketing’ for their sponsorship of the AGTO area at Excursions 2017. We are working closely with ‘made’ and TSE on the content of the presentations and more details will be announced in due course.” Nigel Smith, Chief Executive, Tourism South East said: “ We are delighted that AGTO has decided to hold its AGM at Excursions and feel sure that this will encourage more of its members to travel to the show and as a result, boost visitor numbers.” The 2016/2017 AGTO 25th Anniversary Members’ Handbook has just been published. The 115-page A4 book will serve as an essential reference tool for GTOs in the year ahead. Content includes, among many other things ,contact details of Associate supplier members who provide services for groups. Our recent members’ survey showed that the handbook is widely used throughout the year. Updates to the information it contains are made on the members’ section of our website www.agto.co.uk Don’t forget, information is updated on social media sites Twitter @AGTOUK and Facebook: Association of Group Travel Organisers.