Tuesday 26th September 2017, London – The national Mayflower 400 partnership was delighted to host 14 top tour operators from the UK on a familiarisation visit to Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire for the UKinbound’s ‘Discover Mayflower 400’ event which took place on 17th and 18th September.
The tour operators who participated in the fam trip included:
- Karin Gidlund, Abbey Ireland & UK
- Eva Muehlthaler, All In One Tours
- Sigita Puzinaite, Angela Shanley Associates Ltd
- Paul Cui, Anglo Chinese Executive Travel
- George Maxwell, Anglo Educational Services
- Valentina Pinna, Atlas Travel Solutions Ltd London
- Rose Zhang, CTS Horizons
- Jamie Currier, ECE Travel
- Monica Istoc, Hotels and More
- Gloria Cuttica, Interopa
- Clotilde Capecce, JacTravel
- Zhenlin Ye, Miki Travel Limited
- Riikka Currie-Smith, Scancoming UK
- Keith Somers, Select Travel Service
The tour operators, all members of UKinbound, visited Boston in Lincolnshire to see the Guildhall and the cells where Mayflower Pilgrims Brewster and Bradford were held and tried. An evening dinner was held at Ye Olde Belle Hotel and Spa in Retford North Nottinghamshire, where the follwing day a busy morning of meetings also took place.
17 suppliers from across the Mayflower 400 destinations attended the event to meet directly with the tour operators and discuss opportunities to work together. The group then went on to visiting nearby villages and churches key to the Mayflower story across the Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire region.
The trip was part of the Mayflower 400 national visitor campaign featuring 11 UK partner destinations which has been launched to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage from the UK to the US in 2020. The aim of the trip was to educate the tour operators on the role that the destinations played in the Mayflower story and their tourism offerings for visitors planning to visit in the lead up to and during the commemoration year.
The group visited The White Hart Hotel in Boston, where they enjoyed a Lincolnshire lunch featuring Boston’s famous sausages and Lincolnshire stuffed chine, before heading to Boston Guildhall, the Stump – Boston’s church, the villages of Scrooby, Babworth and Austerfield, and Gainsborough Old Hall. Local Mayflower historian and tour guide Sue Allen provided a costumed guided tour for the group.
Mayflower 400 received positive feedback across the board from the fam trip participants, including Karin Gidland from Abbey and Ireland UK who said, ‘The Discover Mayflower 400 event has been superb. I have met so many new destinations and businesses that I had not previously met – the event has been truly inspirational and I am coming away with so many ideas for tours around the anniversary.’
While Jamie Currier from ECE said, ‘The FAM trip for the Mayflower 400 programme was fascinating. I now have a much deeper understanding of this historic story, with two emotive speakers in Sue Allen and Luke Skerritt providing excellent background into the people and areas that make up the Mayflower story. I am a lot more confident to speak with my American clients about the hugely important opportunity the anniversary presents.’
Emma Tatlow, National Visitor Project Manager for Mayflower 400, said, ‘Working with UKinbound on the Discover Mayflower 400 event has been a really valuable opportunity to showcase some of the Mayflower destinations, and present the wider national story to tour operators. So many visitors want to come and experience the Mayflower story for themselves. Whilst on the familiarisation visit we met six American tourists in the village of Scrooby who were following in the footsteps of their own Mayflower descendants. We anticipate many more visitors will be taking a similar journey as we move closer to the 400th anniversary.’
UKinbound’s chief executive officer, Deirdre Wells OBE added, ‘The Mayflower sailing is a significant anniversary in UK-US history and this latest discover event was very well received by our members, who are keen to develop and communicate their Mayflower 400 stories. This is really is a great opportunity for destinations across the UK and for visitors to explore new and exciting itineraries.’
It is estimated the national Mayflower partnership will drive growth in the visitor economy of over 1.4 million visitors during the commemoration year, with an economic impact in excess of £76 million in turn creating around 2,000 jobs. The success of the Discover Mayflower event has therefore proved a positive development for the Mayflower 400 campaign in highlighting the potential opportunities the 400th anniversary is already beginning to generate.
For more information on the Mayflower 400 programme please visit: www.mayflower400uk.org