National Newsletter Summer 2016



National Newsletter Summer 2016
Summer 2016
“The Showcase will provide a great
opportunity for our members to
get together to plan their itineraries
for 2017 and beyond, as well as
experiencing a part of Britain that
is particularly popular with groups.”
Hi Ho Silver!
The Association’s 25th anniversary
Showcase Weekend will take
place at Dunston Hall Hotel,
Norwich, 28-30 October 2016.
The event will bring together
group organiser and associate
members from all over the UK
to participate in a programme of
business and social sessions.
a choice of specially tailored
familiarisation trips to attractions
including Norwich UNESCO City
of Literature, Sandringham and
Great Yarmouth.
Other elements of the Showcase
programme include a special
welcome presentation from Visit
East Anglia’s Executive Director,
Pete Waters and a marketing
seminar led by Jason Triandafyllou,
Partner at Designate, on how GTOs
can attract more participants for
their groups. There will also be
AGTO Branch AGMs, networking
sessions and an anniversary dinner
with entertainment arranged by
headline sponsor, ‘made’ tourism
“Initial reaction to the Showcase
Weekend has been enthusiastically
received by members and we are
expecting a record attendance for
this landmark event.”
If any current or former members
memorabilia, photos and stories
from the past 25 years, we are keen
to hear from them. We hope to use
the memorabilia in some way at the
Showcase Weekend and possibly
other events this year. Please email:
[email protected] with details of
your items.
The Association’s chief executive,
Mike Bugsgang, said: “This will
be a very special event as we will
be marking the Association’s
25th anniversary.
The Showcase Weekend is
already proving to be popular so
be sure to book your space early.
For information and booking visit or telephone:
020 8253 4505.
Jason Triandafyllou, Designate
Pete Waters, Visit East Anglia
AGTO Summer News Round-up
AGTO Board Director, David Steele, was named
winner of the UK Coach Awards ‘Services to the
Coach Industry’ award at a glittering event attended
by over 200 people at the Mercure Piccadilly Hotel in
Manchester. The award recognised his campaigning
work for coach tourism over a career dating back
more than 40 years. David, in the centre of the picture,
was presented with the award by Ian Luckett, chair of
the CPT Coach Commission, (right) and Scott Read,
Personal Group.
Sue Day of West Midland Safari Park was one of
several AGTO Associate members honoured at
the Group Travel Awards. Sue won the ‘Outstanding
Contribution to Group Travel by an Individual’
category. The event was staged at the Park Plaza
Riverbank Hotel, London with some 400 people
present. Commenting on the award Sue said: “For
anyone to have been awarded such an accolade by
their peers and travel industry leaders, is a mark of
respect like no other and I cannot stress enough
how truly humbled I am by this.” Sue is pictured
showing her award to one of West Midland Safari
Park’s residents.
Congratulations are due to another AGTO Board
Director, Alex Jacobs of Northern Secrets who
was also a winner at the Group Travel Awards.
The ‘Development of Incoming Visitors to the UK’
category recognises the valuable contribution to
Britain’s economy that inbound tourism makes.
VIP Upgrade for AGTO Members
Register to visit this year’s Group Leisure & Travel Show and
as an AGTO member you will be automatically upgraded
as a Premier Club member. The GLTS takes place on 20th
October at the NEC Birmingham and is a good way to get
the best deals, offers and advice from the experts for all
your group trips and holidays. Entry is free, as is parking
if you register now. As an upgraded Premier Club visitor
you receive free access to the Premier Lounge where a
light lunch is served, refreshments are available all day,
and there are complimentary newspapers too. Plus, the
seminar theatre is back and open to all, featuring celebrity
experts covering a whole range of topics.
To register go to: or use the
pre-registration ticket which will be sent to all members in
and included with upcoming editions of ‘Group Leisure’.
We are delighted to welcome the following new
members of AGTO:
Running Wild
GTO Members
Members of AGTO recently attended a trade
evening arranged by ‘made’ tourism marketing
for a performance of Running Wild at Regent’s
Park Open Air Theatre. Adapted from Michael
Morpurgo’s novel by Samuel Adamson, Running
Wild charts the adventures of a young boy lost in
the Indonesian jungle. A story of love, loss, loyalty
and of living for the moment. With a cast of 40 and
life size animal puppets, this is the largest-scale
production ever to be presented at the Open Air
Theatre. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 2016
season also includes a new production of Andrew
Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical Jesus
Christ Superstar and to mark 400 years since
Shakespeare’s death, the Open Air Theatre will
stage Henry V. Pictured at the event with group
organisers are: Andy Locke, Commercial Director,
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (first left) and
John Corellis, ‘made’ tourism marketing (second
from right).
Carol-Ann Penn
William Read
M2520 Jennifer Billing
N2521 David Bate
Marie Sandell
Charmaine Willey
Mc2522 Ashley Tresser
Adekunle Aderugbo
Malcolm Case
Madeline Martin
Geoff Monk
Barbara Smith
S2528 Pat Lake
Associate Members
5924 London Museum of Water & Steam
5925 Constantinou Bros Hotels Cyprus
5926 Trip Center
5927 Mid Hants Railway ‘Watercress Line’
5828 Alfa Travel Ltd
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Group & Specialist
Sales Team was delighted to host the first ever
familiarisation cruise for GTOs aboard Balmoral to the
Norwegian Fjords. The cruise was an ideal taster cruise
for ‘new to Fred.’ groups and a perfect showcase of a
five nights cruise to Norway. The GTOs were able to
enjoy a welcome aboard group drinks party, business
session, group dining, private group shore tours, a tour
of cabins, a group afternoon tea and a Captain’s Cocktail
party. The company will be offering thirteen cruises from
Newcastle in 2017, including itineraries to the Norwegian
Fjords, Scandinavia, Spain, British Isles, & Iceland.
For further info contact Group & Specialist Sales Team
on: 01473 746169 or email [email protected]
ee nef
Fr Be
It’s better all together on a Fred. Olsen cruise
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is renowned for offering some of the best ‘Norwegian Fjords’ cruises in the
industry; the company’s strong Norwegian heritage and its fleet of smaller, more intimate ships has
allowed the cruise line to create some of the most unique and magnificent itineraries possible.
Scenic Norway
& Celebrations
Five Night
Departs 30th April 2017
7 nights • Balmoral • L1707
Departs 15th May 2017
9 nights • Balmoral • L1709
Departs 25th May 2017
5 nights • Balmoral • L1710
Interior Twin Room from
Interior Twin Room from
Oceanview Twin Room from
Oceanview Twin Room from
Interior Twin Room from
Oceanview Twin Room from
Seven Sisters Waterfall
e n
siv lse
clu . O
E x re d
Mountains & Glaciers
Stavanger (Pulpit Rock &
Kjerag Boulder)
(Pulpit Rock & Kjerag Boulder)
To/from Dover
To/from Dover
Departs 8th July 2017
7 nights • Braemar • M1716
Departs 13th July 2017
8 nights • Boudicca • D1715
Departs 23rd August 2017
5 nights • Balmoral • L1719
Interior Twin Room from
& Strandsfjord
Fedafjord & Listafjord
Fureberg Waterfall,
Lysefjord (Pulpit Rock
& Kjerag Boulder)
& Stolsfjord
Oceanview Twin Room from
John O’Groats (from Scrabster)
e n
siv lse
clu . O
E x re d
Interior Twin Room from
Oceanview Twin Room from
Nordfjord Olden
Fureberg Waterfall,
(Pulpit Rock & Kjerag Boulder)
To/from Newcastle
Scenic Sights of
Norway’s Fjordland
Interior Twin Room from
(Pulpit Rock
& Kjerag Boulder)
Scenic Fjords &
Waterfalls of Norway
Oceanview Twin Room from
Interior Twin Room from
Oceanview Twin Room from
Fureberg Waterfall,
Bergen Nærøyfjord
Departs 24th June 2017
7 nights • Balmoral • L1713
Nordfjord Olden
the Fjordland
Mountains & Glaciers
Departs 29th August 2017
8 nights • Boudicca • D1720
Interior Twin Room from
Fureberg Waterfall,
(Pulpit Rock & Kjerag Boulder)
Oceanview Twin Room from
To/from Liverpool
Call us for a copy of our new 2017/18 Worldwide Brochure
For group bookings and enquiries, contact the
award winning group sales department 01473 746169
or email [email protected]
Fares are per person, based on twin occupancy of the lead-in twin cabin, subject to availability. Fares are capacity controlled & may be amended or withdrawn at any time without prior notice, & cannot
be applied retrospectively. All bookings are subject to Fred. Olsen’s standard terms & conditions, available on our website & on request. Some ports may be at anchor, intermediate days are at sea. We
reserve the right to amend itineraries for operational reasons. E&OE. The free group escort place is allocated once the group passenger target is achieved, which vary between 15 & 30 passengers,
depending on the cruise chosen. (the target excludes 3rd & 4th berths sharing). The free place is a free berth, not a free cabin. Free place terms and conditions apply. The drinks party
is for hosted groups only. The free car parking relates to one car parking voucher per cabin. The coach funding relates to Eavesway. Private group shore tours are an additional charge
& must be pre-arranged prior to sailing. Private use of on board facilities must be arranged in advance. For details of the all inclusive drinks package upgrade please visit our website.
Full Steam Ahead!
A trip which includes a steam railway
journey makes a happy group...
Interest in rail travel generally
and steam trains in particular are
going through something of a
renaissance. There is no doubt
that much of this can be attributed
to the hugely popular television
series, Great British Railway
Journeys. Its presenter, Michael
Portillo, has done a sterling job
in motivating group organisers
to arrange trips to Britain’s many
heritage railways.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the UK has
more heritage railways per square
mile than anywhere else in the
world, attracting 10 million visits a
year. This fact has not been lost on
the Government who produced
a Parliamentary Report on the
sector in 2013 that highlighted its
importance to tourism and the
benefits it brings to local economies.
In fact, earlier this year, the
Government launched a £1 million
competition aimed at heritage
and community railways to make
them more accessible for people
travelling around the country. The
competition will offer grants to rail
operators for innovative ideas to
meet this objective.
Michael Portillo
speaking at BTTS
Heritage Minister,
David Evennett,
said: “We want
more tourists to
experience the
best of Britain beyond the capital
and help boost local economies
across the country. Heritage
railways are a huge draw for tourists
and this competition will encourage
more visitors to see some of the
hidden gems the country has to
Once the preserve of rail
enthusiasts, these railways have
taken on a much broader appeal
with group organisers using them
for a whole range of experiences
including shopping trips, travel to
festivals and gourmet dining.
According to AGTO member David
Steele, there’s an old adage in group
organiser circles that goes: “Put
together an itinerary featuring a
steam railway journey, a boat trip
and a garden visit and you will have
a happy group.”
Clare Gibbard of AGTO member
Severn Valley Railway said: “Groups
are very important and positively
influence our visitor numbers each
year. Group organisers book with
us year after year due to the truly
unique visitor experience that
we deliver.
“The Severn Valley Railway offers
groups the chance to step back in
time to the golden age of steam –
to enjoy steam train rides along our
famous and scenic 16-mile span, to
get hands-on with our interactive
exhibits at our Engine House Visitor
Centre and to enjoy some of our
hugely popular events like ‘Step
The Flying Scotsman, NYMR
back to the 1940s’ and the ‘Santa
Steam Specials’.
“Heritage steam is very much in
the spotlight at the moment with
the Flying Scotsman’s re-entry into
service after its major overhaul and
we are very excited about its visit to
the Severn Valley in September.”
railways have
“ ...these
taken on a much
broader appeal with
group organisers
using them for a
whole range of
A recent addition to AGTO
membership, the Mid Hants Railway
‘Watercress Line’ runs along the
edge of the South Downs National
Park in Hampshire. This heritage
steam railway starts in New
Alresford, 7 miles from the ancient
city of Winchester and famous for its
clear chalk streams and watercress
farms. The Watercress Line runs
Standard Days and Special Events
including ‘War on the Line’, ‘Peppa
Pig’, ‘Santa Specials’ and ‘A Day Out
With Thomas.’
The Government’s initiatives to
stimulate interest in heritage
railways combined with extensive
media coverage of the return in to
service of the Flying Scotsman will
certainly assist group organisers in
their promotional efforts.
Welcome to East
Visit East Anglia is looking forward to welcoming the AGTO
Silver Jubilee Showcase Weekend in October and to revealing
the great opportunities the region has for group organisers.
East Anglia comprises the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk,
Cambridgeshire and Essex, with Lowestoft in Suffolk being the
most easterly point in Britain and therefore being the first place
in the country to see the sunrise! The area has been shaped by
hundreds of years of history and has an exciting collection of
cultural attractions, fascinating cities, scenic villages and outdoor
adventures at every turn.
There are miles of coastline, sandy beaches and
lighthouses, historic piers, coastal restaurants with delicious,
finest local ingredients and seafood straight off the fishing boats.
It has world famous food and drink, served in timbered pubs and
contemporary restaurants.
The landscape is diverse with wide skies and open
countryside. It is these landscapes that inspired the famous
painter, John Constable.
The world renowned 31 university colleges in Cambridge
are home to some of the most beautiful and innovative
architecture in the world. With King’s College Chapel being the
grandest and most beautiful building in Cambridge. Here you will
also find the Botanical gardens with over 8000 plant species and
close by is the Imperial War Museum, at Duxford set within the
best-preserved Second World War airfield in Europe, telling the
story of aviation through times of war and peace.
The City of Norwich is the most complete medieval
city in Britain and includes a magnificent Norman Cathedral and
Castle and is also one of the top 5 places to shop, with two malls,
High Street favourites and a range of independent shops in The
Lanes! In 2012 Norwich became England’s first UNESCO City of
Literature and one of only seven in the world.
You can visit the burial site of an Anglo Saxon king at
Sutton Hoo near Woodbridge and take a visit to the home of
horse racing in Newmarket where the 17th Century kings and
queens brought their passion for the sport to the town. Take a
boat through the Norfolk Broads, the birdwatching capital, or
take a chauffeured punt in Cambridge.
There are Downton Abbey-style stately homes
throughout the region at Blickling, Felbrigg, Oxborough, Holkham,
Houghton and the Queen’s rural home, Sandringham, in Norfolk.
Melford and Kentwell Halls in Suffolk and Ryde Hall Gardens in
Essex boast architectural and horticultural delights.
National events and festivals are abundant throughout
the region giving it an exciting and vibrant air with a mix of
traditional and contemporary performances. Visit the Christmas
Craft, Food and Gift Fair in November 2016 at Sandringham
House, HM The Queen’s country retreat; this is perhaps the
most famous historic house in Norfolk. There is also the amazing
Christmas market in the historic country town of Bury St
Edmunds, the perfect event to get into the festive spirit.
You will find a wealth of diverse experiences for your
groups. East Anglia is not just a place to visit it is a place to
experience quintessential England and the very best of its
culture and heritage but with many a modern twist. Once you
have visited you will discover why visitors travel back to the area
again and again.
The Visit East Anglia website lists all the top 10’s for
the region, with ideas for where to stay, places to visit, eat and
drink. Take a look at or contact the
team at [email protected], they will be pleased to help you
prepare a tailor-made trip.
Helen Cutting,
Partnership Manager at Visit East Anglia
SPOTLIGHT ON... Eastern Branch
Members of AGTO’s Eastern
Branch are delighted the
2016 Showcase Weekend is
being held in the heart of their
region at Dunston Hall Hotel
Norwich 28 – 30 October.
Branch Director Joan Hanks
says: “All our members,
both GTOs and Associates,
will come together to host
AGTO’s event of the year and
we are sure delegates will not
be disappointed.”
comprising a team of
and by the provision of
resources through AGTO’s
Associate members.
Eastern Branch has over
60 members and covers a
vast area stretching from
North London and the River
Thames up to the Wash
and from East to West from
Essex to Buckinghamshire,
as well as the counties of
Hertfordshire, Norfolk and
Bedfordshire. According to
recently published research,
the area is the most sought
after to live in the country.
look out for new GTO
members, encouraging their
involvement in the operation
of the Branch and ensuring
Associate members.”
Joan Hanks explains: “Our
aim is to assist members
to develop as GTOs. We
through the Branch network,
which is run by a committee
“The dedication of our Branch
team in providing events,
and networking is what
makes Eastern Branch so
Arranging events to keep
members up-to-date with
the latest developments
affecting group organising
knowledge of Associates’
products is a major part of
the Branch’s work.
A prime example of this was
the recent visit to Ripley’s
Believe It or Not in London. 25
members had an interesting
and entertaining day at the
attraction followed by an
enjoyable lunch at Planet
The next Branch meeting
and fam trip is at Stowe, the
National Trust property near
Buckingham and there is an
exciting ‘Rhine in Spring River
Cruise’ planned in April 2017.
Within the Eastern Branch
region there are some of the
finest historical buildings,
cathedrals, stately homes
and gardens in Britain. From
small hamlets, still intact
since the 16th century, to
Milton Keynes which has
just celebrated 25 years as
a town and now a city. The
area is a veritable gold mine
of attractions for group
organisers’ itineraries.
Enid Pamment
In conclusion, Joan Hanks
says: “We are indebted to our
members for their support
and to AGTO Associates
who provide us with such
a variety of venues for our
events. We look forward
to seeing everyone at the
Maria Maltby
Eastern Branch Committee
Enid Pamment - Chair
Joan Hanks - Branch Director
Maria Maltby - Secretary
Mary Lowe - Treasurer
Yvonne Hodson - Editor Eastwise
Maureen Hardingham - Committee Member
Branch Publication - Eastwise
Quarterly newsletter with news, photos, trips, gossip, tips, reviews and much more,
Eastwise is produced with content provided by Eastern Branch Members.
Joan Hanks
Yvonne Hodson
It's never too
late to get your
Christmas Market
tour wrapped-up!
Lille Christmas Market
18 Nov - 30 Dec 2016
2 nights Bed & Breakfast
from £159 per person
Ibis Styles***
Valkenburg Christmas Market
18 Nov 2016 - 8 Jan 2017
2 nights Bed & Breakfast
from £199 per person
Grand Hotel Monopole***
Cologne Christmas Market
21 Nov - 23 Dec 2016
3 nights Bed & Breakfast
from £319 per person
Hotel Maritim****
• Includes 3 days executive coach hire
• Free entry to the Christmas Markets
• Single supplement £50 per person
• Includes 3 days executive coach hire
• Dinner included on one evening
• Single supplement £30 per person
• Includes 4 days executive coach hire
• Free entry to the Christmas Markets
• Single supplement £60 per person
For more details and to book a festive break, please call
Santa's Little Helpers on 01708 802388 or
email [email protected]
Prices based on 2 sharing a double / twin room and a minimum group size of 40 people (prices for other group sizes available on request), including return
Eurotunnel / ferry crossings UK - Calais / Dunkirk,
subject to availability and South Quay Travel & Leisure booking
terms & conditions.
Strictly Bowled Over
Constantinou Bros Hotels offer quality holidays for groups, with a wide
variety of activities and experiences... all on the beautiful island of Cyprus.
New AGTO member Constantinou
Bros Hotels offers four luxury beach
front hotels in the picturesque town
of Paphos, Cyprus. The most popular
hotels for groups are the 4 star Athena
Beach Hotel (open year round) and
the Athena Royal Beach Hotel (open
from March to November).
Cyprus is extremely popular with
British visitors and enjoys a superb
climate throughout the year making
it an ideal destination for cultural and
special interest group breaks.
The hotels provide an extensive
range of amenities including one of
the largest bowls facilities worldwide,
having hosted World Championship
bowls events with 18 outdoor and 6
indoor rinks and resident bowls coordinators, who are on hand to assist
and organise matches and offer
expert tuition.
Dancing is also very popular, as the
hotels provide a number of impressive
wooden decked ballrooms used by
visiting dance groups. For individual
guests, complimentary dance lessons
are available covering Sequence,
Ballroom and Latin dancing with their
resident dance leaders.
The hotels also organise bridge
holidays, walking holidays and more
recently cycling holidays with routes
that cover areas of outstanding
natural beauty and historical interest.
Golf is also very popular with four
championship golf courses within
is extremely
“ Cyprus
popular with British
visitors and enjoys
a superb climate
throughout the
year making it an
ideal destination for
cultural and special
interest group
30 minutes of Paphos. There are
also plenty of excursions which
include cultural tours visiting Greek
and Roman ruins, monasteries,
picturesque mountain villages as well
as wine tasting.
The Constantinou Bros Athena Beach
Hotel is one of the most popular
hotels in Cyprus having recently been
fully refurbished and offers a wide
range of facilities, set in spacious and
well tended gardens and includes
3 outdoor swimming pools, indoor
heated swimming pool, health club
and spa.
The hotel offers a wide choice of
fine dining with 5 restaurants
including a la carte Mediterranean
and Italian cuisine. Guests can
choose from a variety of board basis
from bed & breakfast, half board and
All Inclusive options.
All the hotels are well located within
easy walking distance of Paphos town
centre and the picturesque harbour
area with its wide variety of tavernas,
bars and boutiques.
For further information on group
holidays, please contact the UK Sales
office on [email protected] or
01924 380160.
Theatre Tip
Carlie Newman reviews The Savoy Theatre’s production of Funny Girl.
Although people are flocking to the Savoy Theatre
specifically to enjoy Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl,
the whole production is well worth seeing. This
has proved the case with Sheridan Smith’s recent
absence from the show and her understudy
Natasha Barnes taking her place. By all accounts
Barnes gives a smashing performance.
Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice with
Joel Montague as Eddie Ryan
The story itself is fascinating. The beginning
of the show has Fanny Brice (Sheridan Smith)
looking back on her stage and personal life. She
performs as a somewhat inadequate chorus
girl. Gradually, under the loving training of Eddie
Ryan (Joel Montague), she blossoms into a lovely
comedienne and when she is spotted by the
impresario, Florenz Ziegfeld (Bruce Montague),
she becomes a star.
Small in stature, Sheridan Smith is amusing as
she dances and sings with a chorus of tall girls –
made even taller by their high headdresses.
of money which he wastes. We are shown how,
although she has a baby and emotional problems
with her husband, Fanny continues working.
A very good supporting cast, with Marilyn Cutts
as Fanny’s mother, not pushy like the mother of
Gypsy Rose Lee, but proud of her daughter’s
achievements, with an acknowledgement of her
own part in the song, Who taught her everything
she knows? Darius Campbell is a handsome
Arnstein with a strong voice and personality and
fine stage presence.
But it is Sheridan Smith who has top billing here
and rightly so. While she’s not Barbra Streisand
and so completely loses the Jewish thread which
Streisand caught so well – she is particularly
good in the comedic parts, especially her stage
performances as Fanny when she laughs and
fools around. Smith shows what a fine actress she
is when we see her thinking through the words as
she sings strongly and with feeling, Don’t rain on
my parade. She has a good, strong voice and is
an excellent actress as she shows in People [who
need people]. Sheridan will need to be careful in a
long run not to go over the top in the comic bits. I
actually prefer her in the straight parts where her
expertise as an actress is to the fore.
Book now and enjoy a good musical with the
extra bonus of a fine singer/actress/ comedienne
in the star role.
Rating *****
Another tall person is Nick Arnstein (Darius
Campbell). Fanny falls in love with him, ignoring
the fact that he is an obvious gambler. She
offers him support and very generous amounts
Savoy Theatre until 8 October 2016.
Box Office: 0844 871 7687
1 Aug
​ utbury Castle &
The Brewery Centre
Julia Passmore
t: 01159 730454 e: [email protected]
Great4Groups North,
Aintree Racecourse
14 Sept
19 Sept
Branch AGM,
Eltham Palace
Eileen Booker
t: 01227 765917 e: [email protected]
12 Oct
Branch AGM,
Tower of London
Jenny Barling
t: 012227 831796 e: [email protected]
20 Oct
Group Leisure & Travel Show,
NEC Birmingham
21-23 Oct
AGM Fun Weekend
Sylvia Saxon
t: 01202 740955 e: [email protected]
28-30 Oct
AGTO 25th Anniversary
Showcase, Norwich
t: 020 8253 4505
World Travel Market,
Excel, London
Warner Thoresby Hall,
Christmas lunch
Julia Passmore
t: 01159 730454 e: [email protected]
Great4Groups Central,
Edgbaston, Birmingham
Christmas Social,
Hever Castle
Eileen Booker
t: 01227 765917 e: [email protected]
28 Jan 2017 National AGTO AGM,
28 Jan
Excursions, Alexandra Palace,
7-9 Nov
17 Nov
23 Nov
1 Dec
6-10 Feb
25 Feb
3-5 Mar
Fam visit,
Sunset Beach Hotel, Spain
Julia Passmore
t: 01159 730454 e: [email protected]
Go Travel Show, Copperbox
Arena, Stratford, London
22-23 Mar
Fam weekend/AGM
Bob Walker
t: 07872 634561
British Travel & Tourism Show
NEC Birmingham
29 April
‘The Rhine in Spring River Enid Pamment
t: 01462 851397 e: [email protected]
TBA June
British Motor Museum
Julia Passmore
t: 01159 730454 e: [email protected]
AGTO Events Diary
AGTO members are welcome at any of the listed Branch and National events.
For more information go to the Branch pages at:
Brexit, what next ?
The Last Word...from Mike Bugsgang
So now we know, Britain is
leaving the EU. This news will
be music to the ears of the
majority of those members
who responded to AGTO’s
poll on the subject a couple
of months ago. How will
this affect the UK’s tourism
businesses? Well, prolonged
uncertainty is unlikely to
help matters but members
should rest assured that the
Association will continue
to keep them updated on
changes to travel related
legislative issues.
Writing for one of the trade
publications recently, I made
the point that whatever
happened post Referendum,
one thing is certain, AGTO
members will continue to
move huge numbers of people
to destinations in the UK and
overseas. It is a testament to
the tenacity of group organisers
that the sector has grown year
on year despite the ups and
downs of world tourism.
On the subject of legislation,
I had an interesting meeting
with AGTO’s recommended
insurance company, Towergate,
who highlighted the proposed
revisions to the Package Travel
Directive that are still likely to
be implemented despite Brexit.
These changes should be
heeded by GTOs and Towergate
suggest viewing ABTA’s online
i n d u s t r y- i s s u e s /p a c ka g e travel-directive. For advice on
the most suitable insurance
cover, GTOs should call
Sam Sciortino on: 01932
334142. An article on a GTO’s
obligations in relation to the
Package Travel Directive will be
included in the next issue of the
AGTO Newsletter.
Since the last edition of the
Newsletter, I have represented
AGTO at a number of industry
events that provided excellent
networking opportunities.
Political engagement was
the focus of the launch of
English Tourism Week at the
Houses of Commons and
a Whitehall policy briefing
organised by the Tourism
Alliance. Both events saw the
Tourism Minister speaking on
current and future industry
issues including the £40 million
Discover England Fund made
available by the government for
tourism projects.
AGTO members
will continue to
move huge numbers
of people...
Attendance at trade shows is an
integral part of the Association’s
marketing programme and
afford the chance to talk faceto-face with member and non
member GTOs and suppliers.
The AGTO stand at the British
Travel & Tourism Show at the
NEC and Great for Groups,
Kempton Park Racecourse
proved highly beneficial with
a number of new members
signed up. At the latter event, a
Group Travel Surgery manned
by AGTO Board Director,
David Steele and I proved a
useful experiment that can be
developed further in the future.
I was pleased to be invited to the
Group Travel Organiser Awards
in London and the Coach
Tourism Awards in Birmingham.
Maintaining good relationships
with the trade press is an
important part of my role for
the Association. I am pleased
to report that we have been
making good progress in this
area following meetings I
have had with all of the major
players. Over recent months
there have been highly positive
pieces of AGTO coverage with
some featured on our website:
Finally, members should have
now received their copy of the
2016/17 AGTO Handbook. This
is a valuable reference tool for
GTOs and Associates alike to
be able to contact each other
for arranging trips.

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