The UK travel trade received a sparkling welcome to one of the South of England’s best destinations for groups of visitors.
Guildford in Surrey – for long a magnet for coaches and tourists of all types – put out the red carpet to coach and tour operators and group travel organisers [GTOS] during the Guildford Group Showcase 15-17 May 2016.
Arranged by Visit Guildford and coordinated by travel trade specialists Steve Reed Tourism of Hampshire, the group of buyers were based at the top quality Guildford Harbour Hotel situated right in the heart of the cobbled and historic town. Transported in style around the highways and byways of Surrey by local coach and bus company Safeguard Coaches – in the shape of a 1950s heritage bus – the group took in a number of stunning attractions and venues during a fascinating series of familiarisation visits.
The VIPS were entertained by the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre during a ‘Welcome to Guildford Barbeque Dinner’ at the Harbour Hotel. They performed selected pieces from the Bard including Twelfth Night and Midsummer’s Night Dream. The Spike Heritage Centre in Guildford – formerly the workhouse and now a museum – was their first port of call. Trips to Loseley Park House and Gardens, Watts Gallery and Denbies Vineyard, the Hogsback Brewery and the Keep Pub in Guildford made for a packed itinerary.
A special ‘meet the group buyer’ workshop took place at the historic Guildhall in Guildford where the group met the Mayor of Guildford Councillor Gordon Jackson. There the operators also met the local tourism industry face to face to discuss bookings and future visits.
A second day of fact-finding tours included visits to the National Trust site of Hatchlands Park and House, Birdworld and the Forest Lodge Garden Centre in Farnham with the finale being a tour of the iconic RHS Wisley Gardens near Woking.
Diana Roberts is the Tourism Marketing and Development Manager for Guildford Borough Council:
‘We were delighted that the buyers had such a brilliant time with our attractions. The Harbour Hotel was a top class and an excellent accommodation base and we really managed to provide a memorable experience for the attendees, says Diana.
‘The sun shone on us throughout, but even if it hadn’t the event the event would still have been superb – thanks especially to the partners for putting on such a great show for our beautiful town of Guildford.’
For more information on visiting Guildford visit:-