cathedral (c) monica sheng zhao

The Coach Tourism Association (CTA) is staging its Winter Networking business development event in Exeter from 19-20 November. Aimed at increasing commercial opportunities between buyers and sellers in the coach tourism industry, the event will connect operators, wholesalers, and suppliers, including tourism destinations and hotels.

To generate new coach tourism product, the event includes a festive river cruise fam trip, plus a visit to hotels in Sidmouth. Supplier Showcases will also take place, alongside a networking dinner with an address by the Lord Mayor of Exeter. Reflecting the importance of coach tourism to the city, the event is sponsored by Visit Exeter.

CTA Winter Networking is already proving popular, but there is still an opportunity for further registrations. The organisation encourages coach operators, wholesalers, and suppliers to book soon to secure their attendance. Non-members can also attend the event by joining CTA for year-long benefit.

“This is the first time CTA heads to Devon for Winter Networking, and the two-day event is set to uncover new opportunities in the area for coach operators and wholesalers,” says CTA Chair, Robert Shaw. “We’re expecting to bring together around 100 industry buyers and suppliers, generating new business discussions to enhance the product for coach tour customers. Exeter and the surrounding area is an excellent location for the festive season, and the event is sure to uncover new experiences even for seasoned travellers to this historic city and coastline.”

“Visit Exeter is delighted to welcome the UK coach tourism sector event to show what the city and surrounds can offer groups,” says Claire Toze, Tourism Manager, Exeter City Council. “Coach tourism to Exeter is extremely popular during peak season, but we’re also keen to encourage coach groups in autumn and winter. With a mild climate, excellent group hotels, and a variety of fantastic attractions, Exeter and the surrounding area is a great choice for coach operators all year round.” 

Hosted at the Courtyard by Marriott Exeter Sandypark hotel, the event starts on Sunday 19 November with a fam trip to Sidmouth with a coach provided by Blakes Coaches. The trip takes in a visit to two Brend Collection hotels, The Victoria and The Belmont, which will host lunch. Stuart Line Cruises will then take delegates for a festive special cruise with mulled wine and mince pies on the River Exe, which is calm all year round.

In the evening, the group will transfer to the Mercure Exeter Rougemont Hotel for a mini showcase of local suppliers and a networking dinner, followed by entertainment from the Exmouth Shanty Men. On Monday morning, a Supplier Showcase, featuring hotels, attractions, and service providers from around the UK, will welcome discussions with coach operators and wholesalers.

Ahead of the event, the Hampton by Hilton Torquay is also offering CTA coach operators and wholesaler members complimentary accommodation for the Saturday night (18 November) on a first-come-first-served basis. This will give buyers the chance to visit hotels and attractions along the English Riviera ahead of the Winter Networking weekend.

To find out more about CTA Winter Networking and to book your place, visit here.

PHOTO: (c) Monica Sheng Zhao

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