The British Tourism & Travel Show returns to the NEC this week (22-23 March), with exciting attractions and destinations ready to tempt group travel organisers and coach tour operators. Lots of exciting things are going on among the 200+ exhibitors, so don't miss these highlights – and for more information and to register for a free ticket, visit www.tourismshow.co.uk
Follow your nose
Visitors to the show can get a real taste of destinations to take their groups to thanks to the British Tourism & Travel Show's Food and Drink Trail. Cleveleymere Lakeside Lodges Lancashire (stand F16) will offer Dirty Duck Gin; Nevis Range (F4) will be giving samples of Great Glen from Scotland's newest and smallest craft distillery; and Tiffany's Hotel Blackpool (F16) will have Blackpool Rock gin – infused with real Blackpool rock. Not a gin fan? Try Rhucello on the Experience Wakefield (B29) stand – a moreish local rhubarb liqueur, which will get you excited for the Rhubarb Festival held every February, just one of the European City of Sculpture's mesmerising major festivals. Speaking of moreish, Coast with the Most - Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (E9) will have Moores Biscuits, baked in Dorset for 140 years. And Visit Leicester & Leicestershire (C48) will have one of the most classic British dishes of all time: Brockleby's authentic Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, still made to a 250-year-old recipe. The traditional “taste” of England through its food and drink experiences is a major groups draw for the destination, perfectly complementing its landscape of woodland and waterways designed for adventure.
Hulk will be a smash hit
The British Ironworks Centre (D48)brings the ultimate selfie opportunity to the show, with a life-size sculpture of The Hulk towering over its stand. He is part of the Ironworks Centre's mission to build a sculpture using scrap metal from every country in the world, promoting the reuse of scrap metal as the greatest ambassador for recycling. The Ironworks Centre's Wendy Faulkner calls the attraction “an eclectic mix of awesomeness, offering visitors of any age an experience like no other.” She says: “The Hulk is just one example of the incredible sculptures which have been made from items which otherwise would end up in landfill. We are dedicated to raising awareness and reducing the impact waste has on our environment.” While visitors are getting snaps with The Hulk, they can ask the team about the centre’s free entry for coach operators, unique coach safaris and VIP packages for drivers, as well as its shopping experience.
Catch sight of Nessie
The British Tourism & Travel Show offers a first chance to get a feel for the Loch Ness Centre, launching this spring from Continuum Attractions (C39). Inverness's latest attraction will give visitors 500 million years of Loch Ness history, allowing groups to delve deeper into the real places, people, stories, and scientific research that has turned Nessie into an iconic Scottish legend. The team will be on hand to talk about this new 'legendary' attraction, as well as the rest of Contiuum's portfolio, which includes The Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, York’s Chocolate Story, Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, and the official Coronation Street and Emmerdale Village tours. Trade Manager Mark Smith says: “We'd love for you and your groups to be part of our ongoing story. Please speak to me at the show for more details on how we can work with you to provide your groups with incredible unforgettable experiences.”
Liverpool, Leicester, Birmingham and Wakefield are among those Great British destinations showcasing new offers for groups this year. First-time exhibitor Check Out Chorley (A29) will promote its itineraries, events and local attractions to groups, which include historic properties, famous markets and outdoor pursuits. “By order of the Peaky Blinders – we encourage you to come and chat with us,” says The West Midlands, One Region, Many Worlds (D14). The region, another show first-timer, is promoting itself as a place of bold innovation, lively culture and powerful history, fresh from its moment in the international spotlight during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 2023 is another big year for Liverpool, with world-class events including The Open Championship, Liverpool Biennial and Randox Grand National coming up. Biggest of all, in May the city will host the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine. With a global audience of 160 million, there's a huge opportunity for tour operators to include Liverpool in their itineraries. The Visit Liverpool (A4) team will be on hand to answer any questions about being part of the legacy. The Belgium Tourist Office of Wallonia (A22) will be at the show promoting many themed breaks to tempt coach operators and GTOs, including battlefields, motorsports, art, gastronomy, mini cruises, spa and alternative city breaks.
Explore the UK with Britain’s Best Guides
Visitors will get the chance to hear from some of the most respected Blue Badge Guides across the two days. A variety of talks will inspire tours and give a taste of what guides can offer groups. Towns and countries in the heart of England, luxury driver guided tours and London hidden gems are just some of the topics lined up. Expect to hear storytelling, anecdotes, and facts from six professional guides. Guides will also be on hand at the British Guild of Tourist Guides (F14) stand throughout the show to answer any questions. Talk timings and details can be found here.
Find something new for your groups. Centre VR, Europe's Largest VR Arena (E9), will be at the show promoting its virtual reality and escape room venue in Bournemouth. It's suitable for groups of all ages, abilities and mobility, with room for 30 players in VR at once and over 100 VR experiences to choose from, as well as physical escape rooms. London-based Frameless (D4), the UK’s biggest immersive digital art experience, will give GTOs and coach operators a sense of its boundary-breaking and multi-sensory interactive art galleries. Each interactive art gallery has a different type of immersive technology, with 40 masterpieces set to unique, moving musical scores. Liverpool Football Club (A4) is promoting its brand new attraction for 2023, the Anfield Abseil. In addition to its award-winning tours, groups can now experience the stadium from a thrilling new perspective, with bespoke packages and rates for groups.
Northern Trains (G8) will showcase its network of 540 stations that span coast to coast, from the Midlands up to the Scottish borders. The team will be waiting to tell visitors about its group discounts and how the train operator provides a sustainable choice for group travel. Visitors will also have the chance to win a free weekend pass.
Wales International Coastal Centre (E25) is a new attraction in Saundersfoot Harbour, offering shopping, gourmet experiences, water sports and relaxing days out. Groups can climb the rigging of a life-size, three-masted Coastal Schooner, or discover Pembrokeshire’s coal mining and maritime heritage in its new Heritage Centres (opening Summer 2023).
City Cruises Poole (E9) will promote its popular cruises, including the Sea Train Adventure which combines a boat tour of the Jurassic Coast with a steam train ride through the Purbecks. Devon's Top Attractions (B53/B54) will have a double stand promoting the latest offers from its group-friendly members. As well as joint ticket options, the team will offer Devon goodies on the stand and a prize draw to win a Devon holiday. Embsay Steam Railway & Skipton Boats (E41) are exhibiting together, promoting their Rail and Sail ticket – a steam train ride plus one-hour canal boat cruise on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The World of James Herriot (A52) is exhibiting alongside Herriot Country Tourism Group (A52), giving group tour planners the chance to explore itineraries featuring also Wensleydale Railway, Classic Lodges Hotels, Newby Hall and The Forbidden Corner. The World of James Herriot is enjoying a boost thanks to the success of Channel 5's All Creatures Great and Small, and the continuing popularity of the beloved books.
Ever-popular group magnets
made Tourism Marketing (A1) is showcasing several of its clients, giving groups a chance to meet the teams from major London attractions including The Postal Museum, BBC Earth Experience, Brooklands Museum, Lift 109 at Battersea Power Station and Arches London Bridge. made offers access to competitive group prices and can help with the entire ticket booking process.
The Royal Horticultural Society (A3) will be promoting its five stunning gardens and its many group-friendly events, including its annual Glow illumination trails. Group visits can include cream teas, award-winning afternoon teas, exclusive lunch packages in our private dining areas, and private guided tours.
The Royal Mint (E30) is bringing one of the most popular elements of its attraction to the show as visitors to its stand will be able to strike a coin by hand. While there, they can learn about group packages for the behind-the-scenes tour of the Mint, plus the fascinating museum.
For the first time ever Marriott Hotels (A25) is launching Bonvoy Events directly to coach operators. Bonvoy Events rewards planners for booking meetings and events at Marriott hotels and resorts.
Strathmore Hotels (F3) will be exclusively launching its new 'Tartan Taster' package at the show. It has lots of news to share with GTOs, including several major refurbishments at its hotels and lots of exciting packages to explore – including Burns, Drams & Dances, Fizz & Fayre, Gingerbread & Gin, and Mistletoe & Markets.
TLH Leisure Resort (B54) is promoting its wide range of group breaks, including dancing, bowling and spa. The team are offering free fam trips for new group organisers.
Helping hand with operations
The Coach Tourism Association (A38) will be raising awareness of its new dedicated consumer website to promote its coach operator members. It's called welovecoaches.com, and is backed by a social media campaign and PR to promote the sector.
SnapSea (E18) is promoting its powerful visual marketing platforms. Its user-generated content solutions help tourism organisations elevate their marketing efforts, collecting and managing visuals and visitor reviews to showcase products. Demonstrations will be taking place on the stand.
DFDS (A41) will tell visitors about new innovations on its ferry routes to France, Dieppe and Amsterdam. It's also debuting a new pre-check-in app, which saves time when visiting the ports of Dover, Calais and Dunkirk.
English Riviera BID Company (B54) has new seafront hotels opening soon and events throughout the year. GTOs and coach operators can take advantage of its Information Service, offering free support including photography, fam visits and help with itineraries.
The British Tourism & Travel Show is taking place at the NEC Birmingham on 22-23 March 2023. For more information and to register for a free ticket, visit www.tourismshow.co.uk