Issue № 45 : Late April 2021

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

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Summer wine and spirits tasting experiences: let's drink to that!

These days, it's not necessary (or possible!) to travel abroad to enjoy sampling locally made wine in a delightful summer vineyard. Remarkably, Britain now has over 700 individual vineyards, ranging from extremely small, to extensive estates rivalling those to be found in the traditional wine-growing countries. More than a hundred locations in England and Wales provide organised visits and tastings suitable for groups. And then of course there are spirits too - including whisky in Scotland, whiskey in Northern Ireland and plenty of gin distilleries. What better to put on your visit list this year? We feature two such destinations in this Grapevine. We also bring you the latest update on this and next year's tours being offered by Riviera Travel, and news of some of the museums and attractions that are now re-opening.

Riviera Travel open bookings for 2022

With a return to international travel on the horizon, Riviera Travel have put their 2022 collection of tours on sale earlier than usual so groups can plan their holidays either for this year or book one to look forward to in the future. All of their escorted tours, city breaks, yachts and river cruises include Covid protection, and they’ve extended their flexible booking policy so it now also applies to 2022 holidays. This ensures groups can rearrange their plans if necessary without losing out. Whether you fancy the magical Italian Lakes, a far-flung adventure or a five-star river cruise along the Danube, whet your appetite by taking a look a their latest brochures.

Read our digital feature here >>

Grapevine Nuggets

Motoring memories

The British Motor Museum in Warwickshire will reopen on 17th May. The Museum has the world's largest collection of historic British cars, and will be open 7 days a week. Pre-booking is essential for all visitors. A full schedule of motoring shows and events is planned this summer including the Land Rover Show and Retro Truck Show.

Find out more >> 

UK Safari holidays!

Trips to Africa may be looking uncertain at present but West Midland Safari Park is offering a staycation with a difference. New Safari Lodges have just opened to the public, allowing guests to stay overnight in the park and experience incredible close-up views of some of their wild animal enclosures from the windows of the luxury accommodation.

Find out more

Tinwood tastings

The Tinwood Estate Vineyard near Chichester has relaunched its afternoon tours and tastings. GTO had the pleasure of attending in mid-April, and much enjoyed a talk from owner Art Tukker and tasting the three excellent sparkling wines that are produced at Tinwood. Groups can book the experience any afternoon.

Read full story >>

Addition to NI whiskey trail

Hinch Distillery in Ballynahinch, Northern Ireland, is about to open a new immersive visitor centre for tourists to find out more about the distillation process to create its range of whiskies and gins. Hinch Distillery was formed in 2016 by Dr Terry Cross (pictured with some of his drinks) and now exports its products to 25 countries.

Read more >> 

Fancy some Fabergé?

Fabergé Easter Eggs will go on show in the UK for the first time as part of major V&A exhibition this autumn on the master goldsmith and his London branch. The exhibition will include three of his legendary Imperial Easter Eggs, formerly belonging to the ill-fated Tsar Nicholas, and the Basket of Flowers Egg, from the Royal Collection.

Find out more

See the world in a day

While foreign holidays remain uncertain this summer, the National Museum of Flight in Scotland will let visitors explore the wonders of the world without leaving the tarmac with a display made entirely out of LEGO bricks. Located in East Lothian, the National Museum of Flight boasts a range of historic aircraft, from Concorde to a WW2 Spitfire.

Find out more >> 

Travel and Tourism Industry News

Holiday islands expected to be on the 'green' list

Travel to popular holiday islands in Spain, Greece and Portugal could be given the green light as early as next month, according to reports. As many as 30 countries may make the green list for UK holidaymakers from 17th May, with the Government expected to give the go-ahead for overseas travel to resume a week earlier. Israel, Barbados, Morocco, Maldives, Seychelles, Grenada, St Lucia, and Antigua are also thought to be among the nations likely to be opened up for quarantine-free travel.


Covid testing could add 160% to the price of a holiday

Compulsory Covid-19 testing could increase the cost of a holiday by up to 160 per cent, according to a new study. The research, conducted on behalf of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) analysed the cost of testing on five “typical” itineraries, including return trips from the UK to Spain, New York and the Canary Islands. Based on the routes studied, the modelling suggested that the huge cost impact of PCR testing would reduce demand for travel “by an average of 65 per cent”.


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