Competition among Britain’s top coach friendly tourist destinations and attractions is hotting up, as the newly announced British Coach Tourism Awards shortlist reveals who's in the running for 2020.
The towns (and one city) vying for this year’s prestigious title of best ‘Coach Friendly Destination’ are Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Tourism (BCP Tourism), Burnham-on-Sea, Southport, Otley and Wells.
14 popular tourist attractions and visitor experiences, ranging from Castle Howard to Swanage Railway, from Aerospace Bristol to RHS Gardens, are also up for awards (see the full shortlist below). Indeed, the contest has been so close – with ‘many exceptional entries’, that the judges took the unprecedented step to introduce a new, separate ‘History & Heritage’ attraction category this year. Another new award will see guided tours for the coach tourism market recognised for the first time, with finalists including Bletchley Park Trust, Canterbury Tourist Guides, Culloden Battlefield, Holkham, Land Rover Experience Solihull, and The Royal Mint Experience.
The awards ceremony will take place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, following the first day of the British Tourism & Travel Show at the NEC on 25 March.
Lloyd Jones, event manager of both the British Tourism & Travel Show and British Coach Tourism Awards, says: “Coaches carry millions of tourists across the UK every year. Whether it’s an excursion to the seaside, a group package deal to London’s Theatreland, or an escorted walking tour, tens of thousands of businesses (plus countless local and regional economies) rely on tourism. Many, specifically, on coach-based tourism.
“The British Coach Tourism Awards, which is now in its 15th year, is a fantastic showcase of the excellence constantly achieved within our sector, including destinations, attractions, coach tour operators, hotels, and tourism suppliers. It’s also the perfect opportunity to celebrate and reward all the great people, places and businesses that are dedicated to offering an incredible visitor experience. Congratulations and good luck to all our finalists!”
The 2020 awards finalists are:
Coach Friendly Destination
Coach Friendly Attraction (partnered by Beverley, East Yorkshire)
Coach Friendly Attraction – History & Heritage (partnered by Beverley, East Yorkshire)
Coach Friendly Guided Tour
Cross-Sea Carrier (partnered by Action Tours)
River and Inland Cruise Operator (partnered by DFDS)
Accommodation Provider – Independent Hotel (partnered by City & Village Tours)
Accommodation Provider – Hotel Groups (partnered by Albatross Travel)
Coach Tourism Industry Supplier (partnered by Eurotunnel le Shuttle)
Tour Wholesaler (partnered by Planet Hollywood and The View from The Shard)
Holiday Programme (partnered by Distinctive Systems)
Day Excursion Programme (partnered by P&O Ferries)
Coach Tour Operator Social Media Campaign (partnered by John Hill Coach Sales & Services)
Coach Tourism Professional of the Year (partnered by Continuum Attractions)
Coach Tour Driver of the Year (partnered by Roadchef Motorways)
Coach Tour Operator – Small Fleet (1-5 Coaches) (partnered by City Cruises)
Coach Tour Operator – Medium Fleet (6-15 Coaches) (partnered by Warner Leisure)
Coach Tour Operator – Large Fleet (15+ coaches) (partnered by Wrightsure Insurance Services)
British Coach Tourism Recognition Award (partnered by Hilton)
As in previous years, there’s no shortlist for this special award – just a winner who will be announced on the night. Previous recipients include Chris Wales, former chief executive of the Coach Tourism Association and Coach Drivers’ Club president (awarded posthumously, 2019), Brian Way, former MD of Wayahead Travel (awarded posthumously, 2018), Joan Johnson of Johnsons Coaches, one of the first female coach drivers in the UK (2017), Roger Elsmere, MD of Woods Travel (2016) and John Miles, commercial director at Galloway Travel Group (2015).
Judges praise “exceptional entries”
This year’s awards judges – who boast decades of experience working in the coach tourism sector, include: John Wales, chairman of the Coach Tourism Association (CTA); Wendy Hartley-Scarff, CEO of AGTO (Association of Group Travel Organisers); Andy Warrender, coaching manager at the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT); Richard Delahoy, founder/MD of SiGNAL Training & Consultancy Services; Stuart Duddy (ex-DFDS Seaways, Eurotunnel and P&O Ferries); Antony Amos, head of business development & membership at UKinbound; consultant Steve Whiteway of S.R. Whiteway & Son (soon to be the CPT’s chairman for a third time); and Ian Jefferies, director of Visit By Coach.
Mr Jefferies says: “There were some exceptional entries to this year’s awards, displaying understanding of group travel needs and how to gain the best value from this important resource.
“Many entries showed great innovation in their approach to group travel, which makes them stand out in such a busy market. Group travel is an important player within the tourism industry and these awards have highlighted not only the value of the coach sector, but also the commitment to quality and forward thinking from many within it”.
For further information, and to book tickets, please visit www.britishcoachawards.co.uk.
British Tourism & Travel Show – free trade registration now open
Many (if not all) of the British Coach Tourism Awards finalists will be attending their industry show – British Tourism & Travel Show at the NEC Birmingham on 25-26 March 2020.
For more information and to register for a free ticket, please visit www.tourismshow.co.uk and use priority code PR1 (direct link: https://eventdata.uk/Visitor/BTTS2020.aspx?TrackingCode=PR1).