CTA Bulletin May 2017

Book now to attend the 2017 CTA Summer BBQ being held at the Best Western Burn Hall Hotel near York on Sunday 30 July. Best Western is generously hosting coach tour operators and UK tour wholesalers FOC to DBB while suppliers will be charged £129pp (plus VAT).

Burn Hall, a Victorian manor house hotel set in the countryside at Huby, is just a few miles north of York and an ideal base for coach groups visiting the city, The Yorkshire Dales and moors.

The event will now also include an important business element. VisitScotland will be holding a Workshop on the morning of Monday 31 July with up to 12 Scottish suppliers – including CTA Partner CalMac Ferries, Gretna Green Famous Blacksmith Shop, the National Trust for Scotland and hotel groups – taking tables for one-to-one meetings with CTA tour operators and tour wholesalers.

To register to attend the event please complete this on line booking form

Encore Tickets is offering CTA operator members a chance to see 2017’s biggest new West End hit, the Broadway award winning George Gershwin musical, An American In Paris, on a special fam to see a matinee performance of the show at the Dominion Theatre in Tottenham Court Road on Wednesday 21 June.

Based on the Gene Kelly film that first entertained crowds in the 1950s, An American In Paris follows GI Jerry Mulligan and a beautiful dancer named Lise, as they take an unforgettable journey through post-war Paris in the 1940s. The musical features timeless numbers such as I’ve Got Beginners Luck, I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me and I’ll Build A Stairway To Paradise.

With 28 five star reviews, it’s an opportunity not to be missed especially as there is also a chance to meet some of the cast on a behind the stage tour after the performance. We also hope to include lunch before the show. Encore are inviting up to two people per company to the matinee. To apply e mail Sergio Cicalo at SCicalo@encore.co.uk

Take a morning crossing to France with DFDS from Dover on 26 June and enjoy a wonderful trip to Normandy to visit the magnificent Palais Bénédictine in Fecamp, a member of the CTA and part of Bacardi Brand Homes. Experience a connoisseur tour and cocktail masterclass of Bénédictine cocktails. Take a stroll along the famous cliffs and enjoy perhaps a sunset cocktail. Hotel accommodation for two nights will be provided before the crossing back across the channel to Dover with DFDS on 28 June. For further details and to register e mail Caroline Stanton, UK Sales for Bacardi Brand Homes via caroline@taylormadepr.com

The 43rd RDA Group Travel Expo from 4 to 5 July is Europe’s largest B2B trade-only exhibition focussing exclusively on the requirements of the coach and group travel sectors. This annual exhibition presents UK coach tourism companies, tourism destinations, group travel organisers and coach holiday suppliers a diversified and – above all – specialist spectrum of potential partners and business opportunities. RDA is generously offering to host UK coach tour operators to the event, including two nights hotel accommodation.

For further details contact Patrick Patridge via dr.patridge@t-online.de

Visit Kent is working closely with CTA member Bluewater, the shopping and retail destination near the M25, to deliver a dedicated tourism and coach welcome strategy. It is inviting coach operators to complete a short survey which should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. Plus, by submitting this form, you’ll be in with a chance of winning a £200 shopping gift card for Bluewater, as well as six free tickets for two people to a variety of Kent attractions. Complete the survey by Friday 2 June. If you have any questions or would like any more information, contact Alanna Kite at Visit Kent Alanna.kite@visitkent.co.uk
We are delighted to welcome several new members including coach tour operators, Bayliss Executive Travel of Deal in Kent, which this year launched its own day breaks holidays programme; and the family run Kirby’s Coaches of Rayleigh in Essex, now in its 65th year, which continues to offer a large tour programme along with day trips.

Also joining is one of the world’s greatest and most famous churches, Westminster Abbey which offers guided tours for groups. As a contrast Waxy O’Connor’s is the biggest Irish Bar in London, close to theatre land off Leicester Square with dining areas for large groups. And finally we welcome the 96-room family run Rendezvous Hotel in Skipton, the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.

After 10 years on the CTA Board, Alun Jones of Jones Coaches in Flint in north Wales stepped down as a director at the AGM. A keen gardener, Alun was presented with a palm tree by CTA chair Denise Bridges and CE Chris Wales.

CTA chair Denise Bridges also congratulated Graham Howatson of Shearings Holidays, on being elected to the CTA Board. Graham and Richard Hill, of Coaches Etcetera, who was seeking re-election, were the only two candidates for the two vacancies on the Board, and were therefore elected unopposed for three year terms.


CTA members are to be asked for their views on how the organisation should move forward in the future and how change might be achieved. Chair Denise Bridges, speaking to more than 80 members at the CTA AGM at Jurys Inn Oxford, said the original mission statement of the then CTC to promote travel and tourism by coach to the consumer had changed.

After 27 years the organisation did much more but now needed to take the opportunity to give current members and potential members not only more value for their subscriptions but for them to feel they are playing a more active part in building partnerships and promoting coach tourism. For her part she said change was inevitable so she was committed to ensuring the CTA continued to grow and become a more influential body.

CE Chris Wales said the lifeblood of the CTA was bringing members together through business, networking, social events and fam trips with 15 events being held and planned in the current year. The organisation was continuing to attract new members from across the industry and while there were always losses, membership continued to be a healthy 300. He thanked the six CTA Partners for their additional support and to hotels such as Jurys for hosting events. He welcomed several new members attending an event for the first time.

Treasurer Steve Lee reported a loss of £3k for the 2016 financial year but this was due to the investment in the first ever Coach Tourism Survey, which had been financed by reserves and some sponsorship.

The survey had produced some excellent results, said Paul Ovington in his communications address and as it was based on the submissions of more than 25,000 people, should be essential reading for all and a major benefit of membership. Likewise, the newly rebuilt and redesigned findacoachholiday consumer website provided a much better platform to promote coach tour operator members. Its key feature, a postcode search facility, automatically takes visitors to their nearest coach tour operator and a link to their own website.

Paul reported that general PR and press trips had continued to produce great coverage for coach tourism in national newspapers and magazines as well as the regional press. Features promoting coach tours to Cornwall & Devon, the Isle of Wight as well as Guernsey, had been read by more than 10 million people. If this coverage had been paid for in advertising, then it would have cost more than £300,000, making it a value for money investment for the CTA. In respect of advertising, regional newspapers were starting to use coach touring advertorial copy provided by the CTA in support of their coach advertising features.

The proposed introduction of ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) in London and Clean Air Zones cross the country, will affect not only coach operators but everyone involved in the coach tourism industry, Simon Smith of the Confederation of Passenger Transport warned members at the CTA AGM. Theatres, hotels and attractions could be hit by with fewer coach and group bookings.

In particular, ULEZ coming into force in London on 8 April 2019 – allowing only Euro 6 coaches into the capital – would have a profound impact while the Government’s Clean Air Zone Framework Document proposed Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in not only London, but in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton and Derby too. Another 35 CAZ were planned in other cities.

Simon warned of impending charges for non compliant coaches. For example the T’ Charge of £10 per day introduced for vehicles not meeting Euro 4 emissions standards within the current Congestion Charge area would come into force on 23 October 2017. More importantly coaches not meeting Euro 6 emissions standards would be charged £100 per day from 8 April 2019 while from 2020, the Mayor of London was proposing to extend the ULEZ to become LEZ to cover most of Greater London (area within M25).

While operators with Euro 6 vehicles would have a competitive advantage, there would not be enough Euro 6 vehicles in service by 2019. And as yet there was no device available which would allow older vehicles to be made compliant. So school services and private hire groups would all be severely hit and day trips to attractions and theatres too. Other councils would be monitoring the success of London and this could influence how they enforce their own clean air zones from 2020.

Simon urged everyone to face up to the reality of having to adapt to CAZ and to lobby trade associations and councils to highlight how important coaches are to local economies. In addition members were asked to make submissions as part of the Government consultation process by the deadline of 25 June 2017.

This can be found here.

For further information contact Simon.Smith@cpt-uk.org

As many of you will know, Towergate Chapman Stevens is a CTA Partner and has been associated with the coach industry for well over 50 years.  Our aim has always been to offer professional services and a full range of insurance products dependent on your business needs and requirements.  Whether it be a bespoke Travel Insurance scheme, Directors and Officers policy, Bonding, Financial Failure Insurance or even one of our new products such as cyber crime – we can cover the things that you need to run, protect your business, customers and brand reputation.

We are a small part of a much wider organisation called Towergate so this is to introduce you to our colleagues at R V Wallis. RV Wallis is also part of the Towergate family and specialise in fleet insurance programmes to cover any transportation requirements, whether it be coaches, buses, minibuses or any type of commercial vehicles.  Within the group, we place risks on behalf of 15,000 fleet and over 29,000 commercial vehicles*.  They operate a specialist risk management programme, which you can read more about in the attached brochure.

What sets R V Wallis apart from other companies is not only their knowledge, but they will take the time to speak, or even meet you, discuss all your needs and construct the right package around your business, ensuring that you can run your fleet, no matter how big or small. I would recommend that if you have any fleet or commercial Insurance requirements of any size, you take the time to give R V Wallis a call.  They will allocate you a dedicated account executive and listen to your business needs & requirements.   To contact them, please call 0121 778 5751 or email bbagley@richardwallis.co.uk

Woburn Abbey and Gardens
Limited spaces for groups are still available for the Woburn Abbey Garden Show on Saturday 24 June, which this year is headlined by Adam Frost and Pippa Greenwood. Combine with a visit to the house – or book to travel at anytime – to see three brand new exhibitions on display: Queen Victoria: A Royal Visit, find out what went on behind the scenes to prepare for the 841 Royal Visit. Design of the Times: 400 years of interior decoration at Woburn Abbey and The way we were, the way we are: Woburn’s Young Curators. Woburn is the perfect day out for groups with a variety of visit options – plan your day with the help of Lisa Weaver, Groups Co-ordinator.  Joint visit opportunities to include Woburn Safari Park or Bletchley Park add value to your booking. For tours next year, request the 2018 groups brochure from lisa.weaver@woburn.co.uk
Hampton Court Palace is holding several group friendly events throughout the summer (and separate to the annual Flower Show in July). They include a Tudor Joust (15 – 16 July); Encounters in The Tudor Kitchens with historic cookery experts (daily until end of August)
And the BBC Good Food Festival (23–25 August) with live demonstrations from top TV chefs and delicacies from hundreds of the UK’s finest producers. Groups of 15 or more enjoy a 10% discount on admission rates. Groups can pre-book tickets on 0844 482 7770 For further details of events taking place at Historic Royal Palaces visit the website.
New vessel for Thames River Services: Thames River Services is adding a new purpose built £2.5million vessel, the MV Thomas Doggett, to their sightseeing fleet operating from Westminster Pier to St Katharine’s Dock, Greenwich Pier and the Thames Flood Barrier. The state of the art, 524 seat vessel was built in Holland and is the largest in the Thames River Services fleet. She will provide the company with four extra services a day to meet demand for trips along the river. Named after the 17th century Irish actor Thomas Doggett who started the first Doggett Coat and Badge race 302 years ago for young Watermen on the river, she will be captained by qualified Watermen. For further information and group bookings, contact Emily Duder via emily@thamesriverservices.london

Photos from the 2017 CTA AGM

Jurys Inn Oxford general manager Chris Broderick with Stacy Whittington and Louisa Fortune of hosts Jurys Inns and CTA chair Denise Bridges

Alan Clough, Edwards Coaches, Melanie Cox, Epsom Coaches, Robert Shaw of Harry Shaw and Anu Desai of Newell’s Travel

Deb Skinner, Skinners Travel, Carol Ogden, David Ogden Travel and Tina Shaw-Morton, Woods Travel

Barry Cobb, Johnsons Coaches, Claire Muir, Andrews of Tideswell, Graham Hopcraft, Condor Ferries, Martin Slater, Greatdays

Edwards Coaches Alan Clough  with Graham Howatson of Shearings Holidays

Steve Lee of Anderson Travel with Wayahead’s Brian Way

Greatdays Mark Bentley-Fisher with Stacy Whittington of hosts Jurys Inns and Sergio Cicalo of Encore Tickets

Fiona Holmes, VisitScotland with Tony Gilpin of Towergate Chapman Stevens, Denise Hanson, Hanson Exclusives and Simon Dodds of Blueprint Travel Media

Vanda Oliveira, JAC Travel with Ann Wilson of Historic Royal Palaces

Hilton Hotels Paula Ward with Steve Scott of Ashley & Newey, Stacy Whittington of Jurys Inns and Robert Jones of Alpine Travel

Gold Crest Holidays Geoff Walmsley with his wife Christine

Stephen Gray and Kay Bennett of Grays Travel Group with Richard Hill of Coaches Etcetera

Linda Ray and Brian Way, Wayahead Travel

Theresa Walker of P&O Ferries with her husband Roger Walker

The CTA’s IT consultant Andy Coldron with Jane Duffelen of Shaws Coaches

Lidia Moreno of Accor Hotels with Paul and Denise Hanson of Hanson Exclusives

Fiona Holmes of VisitScotland with Martin Laver of Whites Hotels in Ireland and Jessica Sludds, Group Tourism & Travel magazine

Charlotte Negus and Daniel Kirby of new member Kirby’s Coaches with CTA chair Denise Bridges

Martin Slater, Greatdays, Fiona Holmes of VisitScotland, Tom Bache and Sue Day of West Midland Safari Park and Jessica Sludds, Group Tourism & Travel magazine

A group of CTA members enjoyed a walking tour of Oxford colleges and a visit to Oxford Castle and its former jail, run by member Continuum Attractions.

They are pictured looking suitably worried!