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Issue № 37 : Late December 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!

Just one year in 5,000...

Welcome to the last Grapevine of 2020 - a year you might be quite pleased to soon see the back of. It's been a miserable time for many of us generally, not to mention the absence of most of the visits, tours and entertaining group experiences that we have been used to. The festive season will be far from normal as well this year. So here's wishing you the best you can make of it for Christmas and the New Year, with sincere hopes that life will become more comfortable, enjoyable and liberating as we move into 2021 and group trips can resume. 

We thought that the above image of Stonehenge standing timelessly in the snow was appropriate to remind us that our tribulations during this year are just a brief moment in time, and problems and challenges come and go, like the seasons.


The picture is actually an A2 poster for sale in the English Heritage online shop, picturing the famous stones just as the sun is rising. Built between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC, the purpose of the stones is still unknown. But whether an ancient burial site, giant calendar or place of worship, the stones continue to mesmerise and inspire today, and are one of Britain's amazing heritage icons.

Grapevine Nuggets

Whipsnade nativity

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo welcomed a six-foot-tall giraffe calf to the world in December. The female calf was born to mum Luna - arriving on the same day the first COVID-19 vaccine was given to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan. In recognition of this moment, the baby giraffe has been named Margaret. Whipsnade hope that Margaret Keenan will be able to visit her namesake soon.

Read more >> 

Albert Hall celebrates 150 years

The Royal Albert Hall will celebrate its 150th birthday on 29th March next year, with new commissions, headline shows from music legends and anniversary editions of historic events throughout the year – while also revealing the completed restoration of the Hall’s historic façade.

Find out more >>

Winter in Warwick

Experience Warwick Castle in a new light! Christmas at Warwick Castle has been extended until 17th January, so visitors can enjoy the new festive Winter Stalls, twinkling Light Trail or take a spin around the Ice Rink. The new light trail follows a romantic medieval theme, with lanterns, projections and installations bringing this great castle's history to life.

Read more >>

Christmas at Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral is offering live streaming of Christmas services this year. These include Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, the Eucharist on Christmas morning, and A Service for Christmas with Carols from the Cathedral Choir on 22nd and 23rd December. 

Find out more >>

New Mother Superior

The rescheduled Sister Act UK tour will now open on 7th September 2021 at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton. The tour will then continue into 2022 to new and rescheduled venues in the UK and Ireland. The role of Mother Superior will be played either by renowned comedy star Jennifer Saunders or stage and screen star Lesley Joseph with Brenda Edwards as Delores.

Find out more >>

More steam trains across the moors 

North Yorkshire Moors Railway has confirmed a break from its usual winter tradition of shutting down to visitors, and will instead remain operational from December until March 2021 - allowing visitors to enjoy steam trips to Whitby or combine a journey with winter walks on the moors.  

Read more >>

Tourism industry news

VisitEngland has made a domestic tourism forecast for the coming year, anticipating a recovery to £51.6bn in domestic tourism spending in 2021; this is up 82% compared to 2020, but still only 68% of the level of spending seen in 2019. VisitEngland expect £14.1bn in domestic overnight tourism spending (81% growth on 2020 but 72% of the 2019 level) and £37.6bn in leisure day trip spending (82% growth on 2020 and 67% of the 2019 level).

Read the full forecast here.   

A free Business Advice Hub has been launched by VisitEngland. It features dedicated pages to help tourism businesses navigate the pandemic, from Government support schemes to practical guidance on operating safely. It includes:

  • Key Government guidance for tourism businesses
  • Government support finder tool
  • We’re Good to Go industry standard
  • Support webinars

 The hub can be accessed here.

Copyright © 2020 Landor Travel Publications, All rights reserved.

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