CTA Bulletin May 2017

Bird handling and a birds of prey display, plus optional visits to the York Chocolate Factory and/or a York City cruise are now all included in the CTA Summer BBQ event being held at the Best Western Burn Hall Hotel near York on Sunday 30 July.

  • Coach groups staying at Burn Hall have the opportunity to join a hawk walk and bird handling display and demonstration by York Birds of Prey so this is an ideal occasion for BBQ guests to see what is on show. The displays will take place late in the afternoon before the evening social.
  • Continuum Attractions York Chocolate Factory at the top of the Shambles, tells the story of chocolate and brands made famous by the Tuke, Rowntree, Terry and Craven families. Uncover the chocolatier’s secrets in the Factory Zone and take a trip down memory lane with some retro favourites from times gone by. You will be provided with a voucher for free entrance.
  • City Cruises York (now part of City Cruises London) offers a one hour trip upstream to Clifton Bridge on the northern outskirts of the city and then downstream as far as the Millennium Bridge on the southern outskirts.
  • The evening social will start with a drinks reception followed by a BBQ, with overnight accommodation all being offered FREE OF CHARGE to coach tour operators and UK wholesaler members. Suppliers will be charged £129pp (plus VAT) for single or shared occupancy, payable in advance to the CTA. Members are welcome to bring their partner or colleague.

VisitScotland Workshop

  • VisitScotland will be holding a Workshop on the morning of Monday 31 July with up to 12 Scottish suppliers taking tables for one-to-one meetings with CTA tour operators and tour wholesalers. Confirmed suppliers include CTA Partner CalMac Ferries, the National Trust for Scotland, Royal Botanic Gardens, Classic Britain, Freedom & Redefine BDL Hotel groups, Clyde Cruises and Drumlanrig Castle.  This is a great opportunity for buyers to get ideas and discuss plans for their 2018 tour programmes.

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

CTA members Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament invite you on a fam day out on Friday 1 September, to include private tours at both venues with refreshments, lunch and tea all included.

  • Take a fresh look at the Houses of Parliament.  The tour will offer a vivid glimpse into the activities of a busy 21st century working building. Following the processional route taken by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament, the fam group will pass through the Robing Room and the Royal Gallery before entering the Prince’s Chamber and the majestic Lords Chamber. The tour continues through the Commons Chamber before finishing in the medieval Westminster Hall.  Tours to the Houses of Parliament now also include the opportunity for groups to enjoy a stylish afternoon tea beside the River Thames.
  • Afterwards take the short walk to Westminster Abbey for a Verger-led tour of the Abbey, one of the world’s greatest churches with a history stretching back over a thousand years.  The Abbey has been the Coronation church since 1066, and the setting for many other great events in the life of the nation, including sixteen royal weddings. It is the burial place of Kings and Queens, and of other distinguished figures in the nation’s history, from writers and musicians to politicians and scientists.

This fam trip will run from approximately 11am through to 4pm, To register your interest, please contact Lucy Hillyard, Marketing Manager, Westminster Abbey.  Tel: 0207 654 4862; Lucy.Hillyard@westminster-abbey.org

The Causeway Coast, Donegal and the northern part of the Wild Atlantic Way will be the basis for the 2017 Tourism Ireland fam trip for coach operators and tour wholesalers taking place from 14-19 September.

It starts in Belfast and finishes with a return to the UK via Knock Airport and includes opportunities to stay in and visit a choice of hotels, a variety of attractions and gardens and network and do business with Northern Ireland and Donegal suppliers.

Highlights include the recently refurbished Carrickfergus Castle, Glenarm Castle Walled Garden, the new Seamus Heaney centre celebrating the life, literature and legacy of the late poet and Nobel Laureate; Derry’s historic walls, Donegal Castle, the National Museum of Ireland & Country Life in Castlebar and Westport House, once the home of Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connacht.  Unusual elements feature the chance to see the Atlantic Sheepdogs on Streedagh Beach and going sea kayaking on the Belmullet Peninsula.

To register and for further details, including travel arrangements, contact Amy Riddell ARiddell@tourismireland.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 free entrance, reception, guided tour and ticket for the popular RDA / VPR after fair party). Note in the original Bulletin the offer of hotel accommodation was mentioned, but this is not included.

For further details contact Dr. 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!