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The stage was set for UK coach and tour operators, as well as GTOs, when they descended on one of the country’s top seaside destinations last month. Southport in Merseyside – a favourite for groups and coach parties – was the setting for a special event which combined film, business meetings and familiarisation visits.

Arranged by Marketing Southport and co-ordinated by Steve Reed Tourism Ltd, the Southport Showcase aimed to build upon the resort’s success as a long established group magnet, whilst introducing many of the area’s tourism businesses to the coach and tour markets. Around 40 group buyers were hosted by the Farington Lodge Hotel [a Classic Lodges Hotel] in nearby Leyland, whilst the Waterfront Hotel in Southport provided the venue for the business workshop – a set piece where attractions, hotels and tourism businesses could meet with the GTOs and coach and tour operators face to face.

Industry body The Confederation of Passenger Transport [CPT] was in attendance, and the workshop element featured top billed attractions, such as Rufford Old Hall; the Atkinson Art Gallery; Pleasureland; Formby Hall and Southport Flower Show. The wider region was represented by Tatton Park; Samlesbury Hall; Courtyard at Tarleton; Lake District Estates; the Olympus Restaurant and the Beatles Story.

A coach tour with Holmeswood Coaches took the tour buyers to a number of sites in and around Southport including Churchtown Botanic Gardens and WWT Martin Mere Nature Reserve. To record the business-generating day, Eastwood Media of North Wales captured the event for the purposes of producing a high quality short film of Southport for the travel trade. This will be despatched to UK tour planners by Steve Reed Tourism to assist them in arranging their holidays, excursions and tours.

‘The Showcase helped to reinforce the importance of Southport to the local tourism economy and also reminded the travel trade how suitable the resort is for groups of all types,’ says Steve Christian of Marketing Southport. ‘The attendees all saw Southport at its best with its stunning seafront, excellent facilities such as secure coach parking and a variety of top attractions to tempt group visits.’

Group travel organisers can contact Steve at

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