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Group Travel Grapevine August ’19

Ideas and opportunities for group travel buyers from the team behind GTO magazine. Published since 1988 and the authoritative source of group travel knowledge.

Hello again...

We’re very pleased to bring you the August edition of the Group Travel Grapevine.

You’ll notice that we are looking forward from the current summer activity to the darker days of winter, which are increasingly being brightened up by a whole range of group-friendly seasonal delights for the Christmas and New Year period.

Our main item brings you a taste of all the things you can enjoy indoors and outdoors during the festive season, with a link to the comprehensive article that’s appeared in the latest issue of GTO magazine exploring dozens of such options. There’s also a special booking offer for two zany dining experiences created around TV comedy favourites Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses.

We’ve also got news of two upcoming familiarisation trips for group organisers to apply for, ideas for holidays in Belgium and Switzerland, news of a batch of new cruise ships being launched, the reopening of a famous London entertainment venue and new additions to the UNESCO list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites.

Plus the latest on our plans for next year’s Group Travel and Tourism Shows in London, Manchester and Bristol.

We hope you’ll find it all of interest and helpful in planning your group travel activities.

Val Baynton, Editor

This month’s menu

Festive pleasures for groups this Christmas

Groups are spoilt for choice this Christmas as historic houses deck their halls, illuminated trails reveal gardens in a new light, and city centres host festive markets.

The August issue of GTO magazine devotes 30 pages to dozens of such great visit ideas – and now is the time to book!

Amongst the options, Historic Royal Palaces has lots in store. Groups visiting Kensington Palace can immerse into young Princess Victoria’s Christmas, and Hampton Court Palace will be celebrating a Tudor festive season.

RHS Gardens (including Wisley, Harlow Carr and Rosemoor) will illuminate their gardens – with giant illuminated flowers, bespoke trails and festive fairs. And Kew has a brand new trail as one of a number created by Raymond Gubbay Limited, a division of Sony Music working with venue partners and event producers Culture Creative.

Cities and towns across the UK, including at York, Manchester, Oxford, Bath, Edinburgh, Caerphilly and Belfast will be holding traditional Christmas markets. These will be replete with unique gift shopping opportunities, tasty treats and seasonal beverages! Bristol has something extra special planned this year, as you can see from our next item.

Read full article

Christmas in Bristol - festively fantastic!

The city of Bristol is determined to do Christmas in style! And there's a range of treats to keep groups entertained.

Browse for gifts in the mile of festive markets, including within Bristol’s Shopping Quarter - home to all your High Street favourites and over 100 independent retailers. Soak up the atmosphere at the aptly named St Nicholas Market. Step back in time, to Christmas past, with the Victorian-themed celebrations at Brunel’s SS Great Britain and National Trust’s Tyntesfield Estate.

Enjoy the Christmas spirit at the city's award-winning attractions and fantastic food and drink venues, well stocked with local beers, gins and mulled cider, or maybe a sherry - this is Bristol after all!

Find out more

Play your part in two legendary TV-themed dining experiences in the heart of London!

Enjoy a proven great night out for groups this Christmas with the Faultys or the Trotters in Faulty Towers The Christmas Dining Experience and Only Fools The (cushty) Christmas Dining Experience. These two fully immersive and interactive shows include a full evening meal alongside the whacky antics of the quick-witted cast - paying loving tribute to two iconic BBC TV shows.

Enquire for special rates and group exclusives.

Praise for Faulty:

★★★★★ ‘Fantastic’ WhatsOnStage
★★★★★ ‘Outrageously funny’ Broadway Baby

Praise for Fools:

It’s a hoot! Like being inside the telly’ TimeOut London
★★★★★ 'One of the most hysterical, unique nights out in Britain' Celebrity Radio

Learn more

See historic York by boat

There is still time for Group Travel Organisers to apply for our free Readers' Event in the fascinating city of York, which offers you a chance to discover the fascinating city of York by river cruise and on a walking tour. This fantastic opportunity is organised by GTO Magazine and City Cruises York, and will take place on Wednesday 18th September.

An arty outing to the Globe and Tate Modern

We've teamed up with two of London’s famous cultural landmarks, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, to create a special Readers’ Day on Monday 23rd September exploring the Bankside’s rich theatrical heritage and art. During the day, GTOs will learn about ideas for group visits and sample specialist tours at these world renowned places.

Enjoying a group trip to Lac Leman, Switzerland

A wonderful reminder of the beautiful and relaxing environment around Lac Leman in Switzerland, was provided to GTO Editorial Director Peter Stonham when he joined a group organised by the Swiss Travel Centre recently.

The trip demonstrated the ease of travel around the country by public transport, the quality of hotels and restaurants, some spellbinding scenery and an amazingly relaxed ambience.

Visits to the Olympic Museum, rock band Queen’s original lakeside recording studio and the Twin Peaks Bridge between two high level glaciers at Col-Du-Pillon are just some of GTO Editorial Director Peter Stonham’s recent experiences in Switzerland! Our report on his group trip, organised by the Swiss Travel Centre, can be found on our new group travel blog.

Wallonia's winning ways

Wallonia in southern Belgium has much to offer GTOs looking for new holiday experiences. Its unrivalled collection of UNESCO world heritage sites, castles, gardens and museums as well as its colourful festivals, are just some reasons that the region is an increasingly attractive destination for tour planners.

Tourism Society appoints new Chief Executive

The Tourism Society has appointed Keith Brown as its Chief Executive. Keith was previously Chief Executive of Visit East of England Tourism and remains a Board Director of the organisation. He succeeds Tourism Society Board Director Mike Bugsgang who has been acting as Interim Chief Executive since the departure of former CEO Cheryl McCain. The Tourism Society brings Visitor Economy professionals together for discussion, debate, to share views and knowledge.

Set fair for Fairfield Halls

South London’s largest arts centre, Fairfield Halls in Croydon, is re-opening in September after a three-year multi-million pound redevelopment. Venue director Neil Chandler plans to make the iconic 1960s venue Croydon’s answer to the Southbank Centre with a diverse calendar including concerts, cultural events, musicals, theatre productions, conferences and exhibitions, meetings and banquets.

New World Heritage sites revealed

UNESCO has added 29 new cultural and natural heritage sites to its list for 2019. The illustrious selection includes heritage sites considered most important to the whole of humanity. Amongst the newly selected sites are two in Portugal: the Palácio de Mafra, an 18th-century palace-monastery near Lisbon, and Jesus do Monte, one of the most iconic Portugese sanctuaries in the north of the country.

Introducing our 2020 Group Travel Shows

The Grapevine is delighted to announce three Group Travel and Tourism shows to be held during 2020, enabling group travel planners and organisers to meet face-to-face with tourism suppliers.

The Northern Group Travel and Tourism show returns after a gap and will take place on Tuesday 25th February at heritage venue The Monastery, in central Manchester. It is supported by Marketing Manchester and Greatdays Travel Group.

The ninth South West Group Travel Show will meanwhile take place on Thursday 30th January 2020 at the We The Curious science and arts centre in Bristol. 

The fifth GO Travel Show will be returning to Kempton Park Racecourse in South West London on Wednesday 22nd April 2020. This year it will be bigger and better with a new partnership with local DMO Visit Surrey.

Four new vessels join cruising choice

Four significant new ships have just been launched, offering new holiday options to the rapidly growing and increasingly diverse cruise market. Cruise and Maritime Voyages has added a 1220-passenger cruise ship to its fleet. Vasco da Gama is a premium vessel that combines contemporary décor with a more traditional cruise style. Cruises served for 2020/21 include voyages to Australia and Auckland.

Fred. Olsen River Cruises is now taking group bookings for its 156-dedicated river ship Brabant. From 2020 it will offer its first trips into Luxembourg.

CroisiEurope is to inaugurate a deep-sea going cruiser La Belle des Océans in March 2020. It is the company’s second sea-going ship, and it sleeps 120 passengers.

Saga’s new boutique cruise ship Spirit of Discovery was formally named by the Duchess of Cornwall at the Port of Dover in July. Designed as a British ‘boutique hotel on the sea’, and limited to 999 passengers, it features a mix of modern and traditional style and targets a new segment of the British market.

Copyright © 2019 Landor Travel Publications, All rights reserved.

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