One of the UK’s top seaside resorts was given top marks for groups last week.
Southport in Merseyside hosted tour operators and group travel organisers during a fact-finding showcase event arranged by Visit Southport and travel trade specialists Steve Reed Tourism Ltd [23-25 September].
Featuring a variety of attractions and hotels, the three day event showcased the very best the popular seaside resort can offer to visiting groups. Everything from red squirrels to lawnmowers in fact!
Based at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, the group of tour buyers also visited other Southport hotels including the Best Western Royal Clifton and the Prince of Wales hotels. Lancashire coach and tour company Brethertons Goldline Coaches provided the transport for the showcase.
On the Sunday, some of the guests swapped four wheels for two by exploring the area by bicycle – a great way to appreciate the resort for its flatness and easy access for coach visitors. The companies attending the showcase included Great Days Travel from Altringham, Kee Travel from North Yorkshire, Elgar Coaches from Worcestershire and Voels Coaches Ltd from Rhyl in North Wales.
A visit to The Atkinson – art gallery and museum – on Southport’s famous Lord Street preceded a trip along the famous Southport pier. And the unique British Lawnmower Museum complete with its celebrity machines was an unusual attraction for the group. Then the group enjoyed lunch and a showround at the Royal Clifton Hotel.
Beautiful early autumn weather was on the schedule for the visit to hunt red squirrels at the National Trust Formby Reserve where the group also experienced the majestic beach and dunes – as well as the asparagus beds. Artist Anthony Gormley’s art works ‘Another Place’ on Crosby beach was next up for the VIP visitors. The Prince of Wales Hotel provided the finale for the day with dinner and entertainment at the well-known hotel.
The delightful village of Churchtown was next on the agenda for the tour operators who enjoyed a guided tour and talk of the botanic gardens, fernery, aviary and gardens – curtesy of local volunteers.
The Wildlife and Wetlands Trust [WWT] Martin Mere Reserve provided a top class visit for the group as well as a chance to spy the migrating birds from various hides around the site. Shopping was to the fore next for the attendees as they visited Courtyard at Tarleton in Tarleton Village and JAK Hanson Retail Outlet in Wrightington.
Steve Christian is the Destination Development Manager for Southport:
‘We were very glad that the tour buyers enjoyed their stay in Southport – and that bookings are already coming in as a result of the visit.
‘Our attractions and hotels put on a memorable occasion for everyone and did their very best to showcase the resort and its group facilities off to the best advantage. Groups are very important to the tourism economy here in Southport and we are always glad to be able to show off what we have – whether it be our superb annual events such as the Food and Drink Festival, Southport Flower Show, the Southport Air Show or the British Musical Fireworks Championships for example – or perhaps it could be our characterful Lord Street, the seaside fun of the pier and maybe the many super attractions we also have around the resort,’ explains Steve.
Please contact Steve Christian at Visit Southport Tel:  934 2319.