Group travel organisers and tour operators explored one of the south of England’s undiscovered gems for coaches and groups on the Watford Group Experience earlier this week.    

Showcasing a variety of group-friendly sites, restaurants and top-class shopping, the one-day fact-finding mission helped the tour planners schedule in Watford as a perfect coach-stop.

The attendees were representative of the UK touring industry and included Quest Travel from the West Midlands, National Rail from the North East, Hanson Travel from Yorkshire and Holiday Club Staycation from London.

Organised by Visit Watford and Watford BID, the Showcase was arranged in conjunction with UK travel trade specialists Steve Reed Tourism Ltd of Hampshire. The event was to be an opportunity for Watford tourism and hospitality businesses to encourage new generations of coach parties – and their spending power – to Watford.

The group met at the centrally located Cotes Brassiere restaurant for a special introductory session and then a guided tour of the vibrant town centre. This included lunch in the Opuz group-friendly restaurant, an exploration of the Atria Shopping Centre and, as a finale, a performance of the 1949 movie classic ‘On the Town’ along with afternoon tea in the beautiful Palace Theatre.

The delegates also meet hoteliers, attractions and other tourism businesses during a ‘meet the tourism industry’ session in the Watford Jurys Hotel. Some of the tour planners stayed at Jurys during the showcase event.

The attendees were able to see that Watford offers everything for tour planners looking for an easy and accessible touring base. The range and variety of shops – many of them independent – coupled to the great selection of suitable places to have refreshments, lunch or dinner in the town makes for a high quality group visit. The delegates could also see that Watford has a variety of centrally located hotels that are suitable for coaches and groups. 

Any tour planners wishing to find out more should contact:

Maria Manion, Chief Executive of Watford BID Ltd, tel: 01923 919981; email

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