One of Devon’s top tourist attractions showed the UK travel trade this week that it has what it takes to attract groups of visitors.
The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth was the venue for the Devon Group Travel Roadshow arranged by Hampshire-based Steve Reed Tourism Ltd [April 18].
Arranged in conjunction with the Devon Association of Tourist Attractions [DATA] and the Eden Hotel Collection, the event aimed to create new and additional group bookings for the West Country tourism industry.
Attracting around 60 group travel organisers [GTOS] and coach and tour operators from around the country – including a delegation of tour planners from Kent under the auspices of Spot Travel from Bearsted – the buyers met with attractions, hotels, venues and destinations from Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.
Councillor Dr John Mahony, Lord Mayor of Plymouth, was in attendance at the event as was Visit Devon and travel trade magazine Group Leisure.
Some of the buyers were hosted by hotels around Devon including in Plymouth, Jurys Inn and the Duke of Cornwall Hotels; Dartington Hall in Totnes and Bovey Castle Hotel on Dartmoor. They enjoyed familiarisation visits to a number of attractions such as Dartington Hall Estate; the South Devon Railway, Stuart Line Cruises in Exmouth and the Mayflower Museum in Plymouth.
The exhibitors at the National Marine Aquarium read like a who’s who of West Country Tourism: they included Daish’s Holidays; the Land Rover Experience; Powderham Castle; the Yarn Market Hotel in Dunster; Torquay Leisure Hotels [TLH]; Exmoor Zoo; The South Devon Railway Trust; Devon’s Top Attractions; Stuart Line Cruises; the Hannafore Hotel of St Ives; World of Country Life; Clovelly; West Somerset Railway; Simply Groups; the Association of Group Travel Organisers [AGTO]; Castles of Devon; Seaton Tramway; Kent’s Cavern; Dartmoor National Park; Great Days Travel; English Heritage and the Visit Plymouth and the National Trust.
Josh McCarty, Head of Marketing at the National Marine Aquarium had this to say:
‘We were very pleased to be able to showcase the National Marine Aquarium to the UK groups market with this prestigious and valuable event. It was very good to see so many tourism businesses from Devon and the wider region in the Aquarium.
‘Group buyers can see that the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth and indeed Devon has a lot to offer coach parties and groups of visitors,’ explains Josh.
The visitors were given a tour of the National Marine Aquarium during their visit.
‘We really enjoyed the event and think it will generate a lot of new group bookings for the tourism industry,’ says Steve Reed of Steve Reed Tourism Ltd.
‘The event showed with attractions and hotels combining forces that anything is possible. And we are very grateful to all of the many individuals and businesses who made a contribution towards this event, especially Jo Butler of the Eden Hotel Collection who really helped to get the event going in the first place. ‘We’d like to see it become an annual event,’ says Steve