The leading event for the travel trade opens at NEC Birmingham next week
With the show just over a week away (taking place on 20-21 March), British Tourism & Travel Show (BTTS) – the leading annual meeting place for the UK and Ireland’s multi-billion-pound domestic tourism industry – has released a preview of what’s new from exhibitors for 2019.
From canal cruises to food and drink trails, guided tours to immersive music experiences – BTTS provides thousands of tour operators with inspiration and new ideas for their upcoming itineraries. Here’s just a taster of the latest news, visitor attractions, tours, packages and experiences to discover at the show:
Visit Scotland will be celebrating Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters in 2020, focusing on themes such as wildlife, cultural heritage, outdoor adventures, and food and drink. From island hopping to canal cruising, whisky tasting to kayaking, there’s something to suit every client (stand C5).
Visit Wales is promoting its Year of Discovery. This new trio of national touring routes is all about contrast, framing the diverse geography of the country and the heart of real Wales with loops and detours of discovery. A few of the unique highlights include, the 870-mile Wales Coast Path, Europe’s longest zip line, and the chance to explore over 600 castles. Visit Wales will also be offering a tasting on 20 March between 2–3pm in Partnership with Aber Falls Distillery (stand A10).
Visit Stoke is launching a new Stoke-on-Trent Cultural Itinerary for travel trade. The itinerary will promote the year round cultural attractions across the city and their group facilities including the Wedgewood Artisan Factory Tour (stand D21).
Birmingham Museums Trust is launching new tours and talks at Thinktank, which give groups a fascinating insight into The Smethwick Engine, the Spitfire and the Railton. Also showcasing: new tours that are great for groups and individuals at Soho House and the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter (stand G22).
Spinnaker Tower is launching two new adrenaline experiences, ‘The Drop’, a free fall from a platform 25 metres above sea level with a unique view of the harbour below, and ‘Altitude’, a virtual reality simulation with a selection of sky-high challenges, only available at Emirates Spinnaker Tower (stand D31).
Welsh Water Visitor Attractions is promoting the reopening of its various attractions after a £4m makeover. Llyn Brenig Reservoir is currently home to one breeding pair of ospreys which can be seen in April to August; Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park opens a new Dark Skies viewing platform; and Llys Y Fran will re-open in Spring 2020 with a refurbished visitor centre, pump skills area and a mountain bike track (stand A21).
Bournemouth and Poole Tourism is showcasing Bournemouth’s 2019 Christmas attractions. Visitors can experience the magical spectacle of over 100 glittering trees and illuminations, can explore the Alpine Market, skate in the enchanting Victorian Lower Gardens, and enjoy live music, entertainment and magical illuminations across the town (stand A35).
Gwili Steam Railway are pleased to announce new events on the railway with a big focus on Halloween this year. Other events will be Teddy Bear’s Picnic in May and pop up events such as Super Hero Day and a Dog Show competition (stand G16).
Croisieurope Cruises, Europe’s largest river cruise company, will be offering a unique, brand new seven-day Italian cruise itinerary. In 2020, the MS Michelangelo will be sailing on the Canal Bianco, from the Venetian lagoon all the way to Mantua (stand D45).
Following the introduction of their new visitor facilities, The Donkey Sanctuary has launched some value group packages. Groups can enjoy a guided tour of the sanctuary or a guided talk on a coach from an expert. The driver receives a complimentary meal when organisers pre-book one of the discounted group menus for 10 or more (stand E33).
Koala Creek at Longleat is the only animal collection in Europe to exhibit Southern koalas. Longleat’s newest (and furthest travelled) residents are a group of koalas, and two wombats, due to go on public show in March this year (stand D46).
Imagination Workshop is promoting its new, completely unique experience – Only Fools The (cushty) Dining Experience, which promises an unforgettable knees-up that’s ‘hugely entertaining’ (The Stage). Transporting guests to The Nags Head for some wheeling, dealing and cushty eating, this fully immersive, highly interactive theatre show makes for a t’riffic night out (stand E15).
Mint, Mine & Vine is showcasing its new exhibition at Royal Mint Experience where visitors can lift a 400oz gold bar to be in a chance of winning a 1oz Britannia Gold Minted bar. Other experiences include: Craft of Hearts, the new in-house craft shop/workshop venue, or chocolate making at the Welsh Mining Experience. Plus, a chance to visit the 26 new style rooms at Llanerch Vineyard (Visit Wales, stand A15).
Dutch Cruise Line is showcasing a fleet of cosy, well-appointed ships, including the MS Princess and the Deluxe MS Johannes Brahms and for 2019, the MS Dutch Melody – a charming, traditionally furnished ship, with 70 passenger cabins. Additionally, Dutch Cruise Line is promoting its unique new river cruise combining The Rhine/Mosel and scenic views of the Saar rivers (stand D50).
Visit Exeter is promoting its newly launched Exeter Food & Drink Trail – a journey of culinary discovery around Exeter and beyond. Taking in nearly 50 local producers, award-winning restaurants and cafes, farm shops, breweries, cookery schools, street food markets, vineyards and gin distilleries to name but a few. This exciting tour highlights the very best local food and drink the region has to offer (stand E33).
Museum of Timekeeping is showcasing the St Pancras clock, which has just celebrated its 150th birthday. The museum has the hands and workings of the original clock and were saved by a local farmer based in a village near Upton Hall, nearly 50 years ago. Also showcasing new school’s educational visits with a major programme being rolled out this year (stand D50).
Portmeirion is presenting a series of three coloured plant routes; ranging from an easy access 1-hour trail to the more challenging 3-hour trail. Portmeirion benefits from a sub-tropical microclimate, which provides excellent growing conditions for an abundance of exotic large specimen ornamental trees, including the American Red Oak and Japanese Zelkova, as well as many springtime blossoming cherry trees (stand C15).
Four Boat Tours is promoting its 90-minute cruise departing from South Queensferry, which is a short distance from Edinburgh. The cruise includes views of Blackness Castle, as featured in Outlander, Limekilns village as mentioned in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped, plus visitors can spotmarine wildlife and seals. There’s also an observation lounge and outside decks and entertaining commentary on board (stand C9).
Whitchurch Silk Mill in the Test Valley, part of beautiful rural North Hampshire, is celebrating its reopening after a £2m restoration. The Mill is now fully accessible, and its story is told using never-before-seen memorabilia, photographs and personal stories from the people who have worked there over the last 200 years (stand G25).
Royal Horticulture Society is promoting RHS Garden Wisley’s first phase of an exciting transformation project in Spring 2019. Guests arriving at the garden will be swept in through an avenue of 100 cherry trees and a new landscape designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole. There is also a light and airy arrivals hall with a new 100-seater restaurant, café, shop and expanded indoor plant centre (stand F1).
Splendid Hospitality LLP is promoting the ibis Styles London Heathrow Airport East – the latest addition to its growing portfolio with Accor property. The 19th property in the group’s portfolio, located 3.8 miles from Terminal 5, will offer 125 rooms, dining and meeting space (stand D34).
Dunster in Exmoor is presenting itsGarden Tour holidays at the Yarn Market Hotel. Visitors can experience different gardens each day including RHS Rosemoor and Dunster Castle and Gardens, plus three nights stay (with dinner, bed and breakfast) for £350.00 or £495.00 for five nights. For groups of eight people, transport is included and discounts are available if bringing own coaches (stand E14).
Discover Cleethorpes is promoting a year-round events calendar including the new two-day Festival of the Sky taking place in September. For the foodie lovers, brand new tours are now available including a smokehouse for traditionally smoked Grimsby fish and a craft brewery and taproom for artisan beers (stand F17).
Marketing Liverpool is showcasing its official Liverpool Travel Trade Guide 2019. Liverpool City Region returns this year with a vast array of products to cater to all needs. Highlights include the hotly anticipated Royal Liver Building 360 tour (stand D17).
Europlan is promoting The Passion Play Sordevolo, an exclusive choral play in Italy, with 400 actors, 300 volunteers, 40 performances, 29 scenes and an amphitheatre set-design of more than 4,000 square meters, reenacting Jerusalem in the year 33 AD. The 2020 edition will take place from June 13 to September 27 (stand B49).
Lake District Estates is showcasing itsLake District Steam Tour with NT Gondola. Groups can float back to the golden age of steam and enjoy Coniston as the wealthy Victorians once did; and can travel in style in Gondola’s opulent saloons or can relax on open air decks. This can be combined with a 1st Class Steam Railway tour and lunch (stand G9).
Music Heritage London is promoting ‘Swinging 60s London’ group tours, recently described as “The most immersive and compelling music experience to rock the streets of London” by Group Travel Organiser Magazine. In addition to 90min ‘Swinging 60s Experience’ tours and three hour ‘Rolling Stones and Beatles’ tours, they also create bespoke tours for groups of 40 or more (stand G48).
Harewood House is excited to open the Private Apartments on select dates for pre-booked groups. This exclusive experience will provide small groups with a rare insight into family life at Harewood with a guided tour in the apartments. Guests can then relax and indulge as they are served afternoon tea in the dining room (stand C3).
Glasgow Museums has launched six new group tour products, including a highlights or bespoke tour at Kelvingrove Museum, plus a behind the scenes tour at the museums store. Plus, tours of the Riverside Museum and a unique ‘Family History’ tour to research ancestors (stand B6).
LOVERS Canal Cruises, winner of the BCTA’s Best European coach destination, is launching Windmill cruises. This 25-minute cruise passes eight windmills and there is an option to enter a working windmill and receive an exciting tour by a real miller (stand D51).
Viva Blackpool is launching its new Show Programme, filled with shows and events demonstrating Viva’s continuous determination to bring first class entertainment to the heart of Blackpool. Located in its spectacular Vegas style venue, Viva brings in-house productions to the seaside town alongside brand new visiting shows for 2019 (stand C34).
Storyteller is promoting its Storyteller FlagMate (New Colour range). This travel keyring made from faux leather, helps travellers to capture their travel memories by attaching hand-painted flags of each country they have visited. Each flag has the added option to engrave a special memory or date to the back of each flag (stand E22).
AC Group is showcasing its latest itineraries from unique experiences, to TV and film themed tours inspired by ‘Outlander’ and ‘Game of Thrones’. Packages promoting the best of British food and drink, England’s Historic Cities and the Cultural Northern cities linked by the Trans Pennine Express are all new (stand D25).
The English National Park Experience Collection is a new collection of 72 unique experiences and 82 accommodation offers throughout nine English National Parks including: Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, North York Moors, Northumberland, Peak District, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales. The collection offers truly authentic and memorable experiences, in the most outstanding landscapes of England (stand C10).
Churnet Valley Railway (1992) PLC is promoting a revamped operation for 2019, offering a greater number of trips through Staffordshire’s hidden valley. Additional dining services and themed events are planned for visitors of all ages to come and discover the 10-mile heritage railway (stand G28).
Whisper Hotels is promoting its latest addition to its growing portfolio with Pennine Manor Hotel, Huddersfield. This countryside gem sits high on the hills above Huddersfield and offers panoramic views, comfortable accommodation and delicious homecooked meals for guests and visitors (stand A16).
As well as picking up a copy of the Brand New 2020 brochure by Action Tours – featuring tours in the Isle of Man, Ireland, UK and Europe – a hamper of goodies will be given to one lucky person. Just drop a business card off and be in the chance of winning (stand D20).
Greatdays Travel Group is showcasing its 2020 Group Travel Guide, for coach and tour operators. The guide contains 136 pages offering a wide range of tours including many old favourites which have been enhanced to give a better tour experience, along with a selection of new tours (stand A13).
Mayo: The Adventure Capital is showcasing its guide for planning a visit to County Mayo. Right at the heart of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Mayo embraces the Atlantic Ocean with many of the county’s unforgettable landmarks dotted along its coastline. Mayo’s coastline is a playground for those with an adventurous spirit (stand C22).
Southport has been offering a coach host welcome for 25 years, and one of the original coach hosts is still welcoming visitors to the town. Wendy Wright, who, prior to becoming a coach host worked with stars of stage and screen, is celebrating her silver anniversary this year (stand E20).
Registration now open
The British Tourism & Travel Show returns to the NEC Birmingham on 20-21 March 2019. For more information and to register for a free trade ticket, please visit www.tourismshow.co.uk (direct link here ).