Issue № 31 — Mid September 2020

Ideas and opportunities for group travel buyers. Brought to you by the team behind GTO magazine, the authoritative source of group travel knowledge.

Hello from all at GTO magazine!

2020 Group Travel Awards winners announced in live TV broadcast
The 24th Group Travel Awards took place on September 3rd, as part of a special broadcast: Celebrate Group Travel Day. The prestigious Awards were live-streamed from a London studio to viewers all over the country, and were hosted by TV personality Patrick Kielty. The Awards again recognised excellent service within the travel, tourism and leisure industry. Winners were announced for 26 nominated award categories (voted for by readers of GTO magazine) and the Group Travel Grapevine, and four special editor’s awards were revealed.

View the broadcast and the full list of winners >>

First Group Travel Showcase TV programme still available for you to watch here

The pioneering 2-hour Group Travel Showcase TV programme, hosted by the BBC’s Dean Lydiate, aired on 3rd September to great acclaim. It contained features, information and ideas brought to you by the GTO team: including Val Baynton exploring walled gardens; an update on the cruising world; a look at aviation and motoring heritage attractions with Guy Thomas; and a discussion with industry experts, chaired by GTO Editor Fiona Horan. Prizes were awarded to GTOs during the broadcast.

View the full Celebrate Group Travel Day broadcast >>

Grapevine Nuggets

Does the new rule of six 'ban' group trips?

New government restrictions meaning that no more than six people can meet together socially has left unanswered questions about whether traditional group travel activities can happen. Coach operators believe 30 people can still travel, but they must split up for visits whether indoors or out.

Read the latest >>

Boost for UK's rarest lizard

A huge forest fire in Dorset this summer destroyed over 220 hectares of wildlife habitat, and hundreds of sand lizards were impacted. But Marwell Zoo teamed up with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation to release over 200 young sand lizards back into the wild at Puddletown Forest.

Find out more >> 

Willesden Jewish Cemetery reopens

After five years of conservation, Willesden Jewish Cemetery opened on 7th September. It is the first time that a still-active Jewish cemetery will invite heritage visitors to explore the customs and history of the Jewish community in London. Guided tours are also available for visitors to enjoy.

Read more >> 

Visit the Hobbit

The perfect getaway for small groups can be found in Bodiam. The Lord of the Rings-style lodging is unique accommodation, and even has the option of booking a vineyard tour. There are plenty of things to do in the surrounding countryside - such as visit Bodiam Castle, or explore nearby Rye.

Take a look >>

Liverpool galleries show iconic photos

Two Liverpool galleries have opened exhibitions of photographs by British photographers. Walker Art Gallery is running a Linda McCartney retrospective, including rare shots of The Beatles. And Tate Liverpool has opened an exhibition by documentary photographer Don McCullin. 

Find out more >>

Manchester museums reopen

Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Gallery reopened to the public on 16th September, after six months' pandemic-enforced closure. Although they partially opened, visitors can see the Museum's beloved T-Rex, and new exhibition 'White Psyche' at the Whitworth.

Find out more >>

Tourism industry news

This year's World Travel Market in London will not take place in its traditional form, despite the organisers saying until very recently that it would definitely be going ahead as a physical event. They finally announced this week that it would become a virtual event. The UK events industry is yet to get the go ahead to resume activities, with trials taking place, but now overshadowed by the new limits on gatherings of people.

Click here to read more

The Thomas Cook brand, bought by Fosun Tourism Group last November, has been relaunched as an online-only travel agency. In the current uncertain times, Chief Executive Alan French claimed the company was taking a 'long view'. The Thomas Cook website will initially sell holidays to countries in the UK's Travel Corridor, including Turkey and Italy. 

Read more

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