UK coach operators are signalling that Wales is very much back in business when it comes to tourism, as the Coach Tourism Association is currently holding its Spring Networking Event at the brand new Newport Mercure hotel, finishing today, Monday 23 May.
The event involves coach tour operators and tourism suppliers from across the UK who will enjoy an exclusive tour of local attractions arranged by Visit Wales and Southern Wales Tourism. As well as being some of the first guests to stay at the new Mercure hotel in the centre of Newport, the CTA delegates will have also have a civic reception at the Riverfront Theatre, and will be visiting a range of local attractions, including Raglan Castle, Caerleon, Newport Transporter Bridge and Tredegar House Gardens.
And the coach operators will also get a chance to sample some fine Welsh produce with a special reception involving local food and drink producers, including Penderyn Distillery which has itself recently joined CTA as a member to promote its tours to the coach trade. There is also a special Southern Wales Showcase taking place today to highlight tourism attractions and suppliers. The guest speaker at the main business session will be David Anderson from The National Museums of Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru.
The Coach Tourism Association is the national organisation which represents the sector and has around 300 members. The event in Newport is part of the organisation’s regular series of networking events which bring together coach operators and suppliers to help create new ideas and themes for their holiday programmes.
The Welsh Government’s Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething MS, said: “Group and coach travel plays an important part in our visitor economy. Coach travel can also help us with our aim to introduce people to lesser known areas of Wales and to travel all travel round- while also using sustainable modes of transport. Together we can hopefully grow the numbers of people embracing coach travel to enjoy more day visits and holidays here.”
Cllr Jane Mudd the Leader of Newport City Council said: I am delighted to be able to host the CTA Spring AGM and Familiarisation trip, so that this important industry group can see first-hand the excellent heritage and culture we have to offer. The Newport gathering is strongly backed by Visit Wales who are sponsoring the event and supported by Southern Wales Tourism and Newport City Council.