Thousands of domestic tour operators, travel organisers and agencies from across the country are preparing to converge at the British Tourism & Travel Show – the largest domestic tourism showcase for the UK and Ireland’s travel trade – next week on 22-23 March, at the NEC Birmingham.
Albatross Travel Group, Bakers Dolphin Coach Travel, British Airways Holidays, Co-operative Holidays, Coach Holiday, Cottages.com, D&H Harrod Coaches, Expedia, Explore Global, Gold Crest Holidays, Greatdays Travel Group, Great Rail Journeys, Hilton Worldwide, JAC Travel, John Lewis Partnership, Kuoni Group Travel Experts, Marriott Hotels, National Holidays, Newmarket Holidays, One Traveller, Rondo Travel, Saga Holidays, Thomas Cook, The UK Holiday Group, Titan Travel, Virgin Trains, Wowcher, and Warner Leisure Hotels are just some of the big name companies preparing to attend.
“This is my favourite show, which I attend each year without fail. It’s the best travel trade show, packed full of inspiration, new products and big name guest speakers. The two days enables you to speak to many suppliers and attractions in person, and I always come away with exciting new ideas for tours,” says Joanna Watson, specialist tours manager at Rondo Travel.
“I find the show a very worthwhile event, as it gives me the opportunity to meet accommodation providers and also attractions that I can discuss and agree contracting for the following year’s tours,” says William Faulkner-Bennett, business development director at David Urquhart Travel & Hart Hotels.
“We find the two-day exhibition an excellent vehicle to meet with clients and potential new customers,” says Denise Bridges, managing director of Albatross Travel.
“I’m looking forward to the show for the variety of both attractions and destinations, giving people like myself a great opportunity to catch up on what’s going on. It’s also a chance to network with existing contacts and make new friends for possible future bookings. It should be a great show,” says Roger Bailey, Blue Badge tourist guide at Blue Badge Guided Tours.
“With British sales increasing, we are looking to find new itineraries and meeting old and new partners to work with during this affluent time,” say Paula Roe, managing director of Angela Holidays.
Historic Houses and Gardens
In celebration of England’s historic houses and gardens, the show is featuring a revamped feature area, which will showcase classic attractions from across the British Isles – offering a wealth of ideas and inspiration for a range of group trips and tours. These include: Waterperry Gardens, Hudson’s Historic Houses & Gardens, National Trust – Canons Ashby, Dartington Hall, and Llancaiach Fawr Manor.
Returning regional pavilions include: Experience Scotland; Tourism South East; Visit Wales – who are celebrating the Year of Legends, with attractions, events and activities at locations across Wales; and Tourism Ireland – who will be highlighting iconic experiences along the Wild Atlantic Way and throughout Ireland’s Ancient East.
Tourism for All’s Accessibility Clinic
Accessibility is fast becoming a valuable and growing market in tourism. New for 2017, national charity Tourism for All is running an ‘Accessibility Clinic’ during the show (stand G66/G67). Expert accessibility consultant and assessor, Brian Seaman will be on hand to give advice on accessibility issues and will provide hints and tips on how to improve the service and facilities for disabled customers.
“The business case for accessibility has become more widely understood in the last few years, and this has led destinations such as Germany, Flanders, Spain (Barcelona) and Portugal to improve their accessibility. This in turn is encouraging other destinations, including the UK, to raise their game,” says Raymond Veal, CEO of Tourism for All UK.
“Working together, we can ‘take the disability out’ of leisure and tourism, and achieve our goal of Tourism for ALL,” he says.
Over 260 exhibitors
The show will feature 260 leading visitor attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs. Recent exhibitors to join the line-up include: Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Visit Cardiff, Visit Cornwall, Visit Hull & East Yorkshire, World of Beatrix Potter, Lucketts Travel, Irish Ferries, Leeds Kirkgate Market, and Spencer House.
Big name Keynotes
This year’s extensive free seminar line-up features a host of big name speakers discussing the key issues, op-opportunities and hot topics facing the domestic tourism sector today. Confirmed speakers include: author and zookeeper Benjamin Mee, TV presenter Julia Bradbury, Travelzoo’s UK MD Joel Brandon-Bravo, TripAdvisor’s Leanne Thompson, Alexander Göransson, lead analyst at Euromonitor, and panel discussions from TravelGBI, The Tourism Society, AGTO, and Hudson’s Heritage.