What’s new? British Tourism & Travel Show 2018 previews its exhibitor show highlights

The British Tourism & Travel Show – the leading annual meeting place for the UK and Ireland’s multi-billion-pound domestic tourism industry, has released a preview of its exhibitor show highlights for 2018.

Taking place at NEC Birmingham on the 21-22 March, this popular two-day trade event will showcase the latest tours, attractions, packages, and incentives from over 270 leading attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs.

From ‘Highland Fling’ tours, to walking holidays, lake cruises, and truffle hunting – there’s plenty on offer for even the most seasonal travel organisers to discover.  Here’s a taster of what’s new from exhibitors at this year’s show:

Tourism Ireland is showcasing ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ at the show.  This new initiative stretches from Malin Head in Co. Donegal to Kinsale in Co. Cork, the longest defined coastal drive in the world.  Visitors can drive, walk, cycle, horse ride or surf around scenery and attractions along the 2,500km trail.  Stand partners include: Select Hotels, Trinity Hospitality, White Hotel Group, Irish Heritage Trust, The Johnstown Estate, Titanic Hotel Belfast, HMS Caroline, and Seamus Heaney HomePace (stand C20).

Visit Wales is promotingThe Wales Way’, three new national routes that lead along the coast, through castle country and across Wales’s mountainous heartland.  They’re crossed by loops and links so that visitors can create custom-built Welsh road-trips for their clients.  Stand sharers include: Destination Wales (THG Holidays), South West Wales, Welsh Water Visitor Attractions, Giant Hospitality, Great Little Trains of Wales, Newport, The Metropole Hotel & Spa, and Rhondda Heritage Park, Slate Caverns, Celtic Royal Hotel, Royal Victoria Hotel Snowdonia, Cadw, Wales Millennium Centre, and Royal Mint Experience (stand F32).

Visit Scotland is promoting the ‘Year of young people’ for 2018.  This features 12 months of events, activities and ideas, like adventure breaks, road trips, and music festivals, for young people or those that are ‘young at heart’.  New openings also include the V&A Museum of Design in Dundee, and the VisitScotland Expo 2018.  Stand sharers include: Love Loch Lomond, Forth Boat Tours, Strathmore Hotels, Visit Aberdeen, and New Lanark Mills (stand C7).

Southport is launching its new ‘Southport Pick ‘n’ Mix’ – a selection of ideas for a four-night group-friendly itinerary.  The itinerary includes time to discover Southport, and a choice of other destinations and attractions in the area, including Liverpool, Ena Mill, and WWT Martin Mere (stand E20).

Marketing Liverpool is launching its Groups Guide at the show.  They’ll be celebrating ten years since winning European Capital of Culture with its blockbuster 2018 events programmes which includes: Terracotta Warriors at World Museum, waterfront events like Tall Ships Regatta and the Clipper Yacht Race, and Liverpool Biennial; the UK’s largest celebration of contemporary art (stand D17).

Albatross Travel is launching its new UK and Ireland programme for 2019/20 including: a new Albatross Collection Tour, a Scottish coastal adventure with visits to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, and the Trump Turnberry.  Other new tours include an itinerary around the East Midlands featuring visits to Barnsdale Gardens and Melton Mowbray (stand C8).

ICT Travel Wholesaler is launching its 2018 -2019 annual brochure for UK coach operators, with new products and new destinations including truffle hunting in Croatia, olive oil tasting in Italy, berry picking in Denmark, oyster experimenting in France, afternoon tea and theatre breaks in London, and more (stand D30).

Exciting Education is launching their Quality Assessed Accreditation Scheme for all visitor attractions and tourism venues that welcome schools and educational trips.  Going live this April, the scheme gives attractions opportunities to improve and enhance their educational provision and build their ‘education reputation’ with schools (stand B1).

The Beatles Story is celebrating 50 years since The Beatles travelled to Rishikesh, India with the launch of a new special exhibition, ‘Beatles in India’.   The exhibition will look at this key and relatively secretive part of the Beatles’ story with never-before-seen memorabilia, imagery and personal accounts from the people who were there with the band in 1968 (stand D17).

Bodmin Attractions is launching a collaborative partnership between Bodmin Jail, Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, and Bodmin & Wenford Railway, promoting Cornwall’s historic county town from history and heritage, culinary and cultural, to events, and outdoor activities (stand E53).

Action Tours is launching a new 2019 brochure at the show, with Guaranteed Rates Options on European and Ireland Tours, and Exclusivity to Killarney Towers in Ireland.  Visitors who leave their business cards may be in the chance of winning a hamper (stand D20).

Rendezvous Hotel Skipton, the ‘Yorkshire Hotel by the Canal’ is launching its updated ‘The Real Yorkshire Experience’, which consists of three or four-night packages for groups that includes the opportunity to experience many of Yorkshire’s best-known attractions like Bronte Parsonage, steam railways, Skipton Castle, vintage bus tours of the Dales, and more (stand F26.1).

Gwili Steam Railway is promoting the Gwili 40th Anniversary and two new artisan events: Welsh Food Festival and Craft Fairs on each May bank holiday.  Also showcasing the launch of a new classic bike show on the first weekend in June (stand G14).

New Lanark Mills is promoting its new Group Visits Guide (2018-2019) that gives details of the 18th century cotton spinning mill village set alongside the picturesque River Clyde and close to the famous ‘Falls of Clyde’.  New Lanark Mills will also be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the New Lanark Mill Hotel, its three-star 38-bedroom hotel (stand B4).

Belgian Tourist Office – Wallonia is highlighting its new group visits guide.  The guide features a wide range of group-friendly destinations, events and visitor attractions in southern Belgium.  These include the Venetian Costume Festival at Annevoie Gardens in May, and the ‘Tanks in Town’ festival in September (stand A42).

Bournemouth and Poole have now joined together to form a fully integrated tourism service at the show.  With 10 miles of award-winning sandy beaches between them, Bournemouth and Poole will be promoting its group adventures on the South Coast (stand A39).

Dunster in Exmoor is promoting its five-night residential walking holiday based in the medieval village of Dunster.  Visitors can arrive on 3 April 2018 to walk the first 35 miles of the scenic South West Coast Path over four days.  The holiday includes all meals, guiding and transport to and from the walk locations (stand E14).

Welcome to Lincolnshire is showcasing its special tribute to Lincolnshire’s RAF connections.  Lincoln will be marking the 100th anniversary of the RAF with a new trail called 100 Voices – a collection of 100 voices sharing personal stories of military and civilian connections to the RAF (stand A20).

Visit Worcester is promoting its new website which includes information on a wealth of heritage attractions, culture, shops, and restaurants, plus its latest event listing (stand C33).

Norman Allen Group Travel is showcasing its 2019/20 brochure based in the UK and Europe.  New tours in the programme include: The new ‘Auverne – Land of Volcanoes’ tours in France, a guided tour to the Stasi Bunker Museum in Germany, ‘Morecambe and Beyond’ tour in England, ‘Llandudno and Splendid Snowdonia’ tour in Wales, and the ‘Highland Fling’ in Scotland (stand D28).

Brunel’s SS Great Britain is promoting its new museum ‘Being Brunel’– a dedicated project where inventor Isambard Kingdom Brunel will be celebrated with never-seen-before artefacts.  Being Brunel consists of a major redevelopment of derelict 20th century buildings beside Bristol’s Floating Harbour (stand B39).

Redefine BDL Hotels (RBH) is highlighting its portfolio of 26 four-star luxury hotels on behalf of new owners, real estate investment company, Aprirose.  This brings the portfolio of hotels up to 68, with many more plans in the pipeline (stand D24).

Greatdays Travel Group is showcasing its 2019 Group Travel Guide featuring a range of tour suggestions for groups.  These include: themed ‘Entertainment Lunches’ and ‘Christmas on Broadway Show Parties’. The entertainment lunches include a ‘St George’s Day Celebration’, ‘Sixties Summer Sensations’, ‘Celebrating the Carpenters’, and ‘Blue Birds and Bugle Boys’, a salute to the 1940s (stand A13).

 Interactive Theatre International is promoting three new shows which includes: Faulty Towers A One Night Stand (for private events), Pamela’s Palace (PG), and Signor Baffo (for children).  Also showcasing two five-star shows which are internationally acclaimed – The Wedding Reception, and Faulty Towers The Dining Experience (stand E15).

Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire is showcasing Sir Roy Strong’s Laskett Garden, White Heron’s group accommodation with British Cassis experience, and Labels designer shopping village.  A prize draw will be open to visitors to win a free trip to all three destinations, plus new group day trips and short breaks in Herefordshire with TeamESL (stand D54).

Great Little Trains of Wales is bringing together 11 different small steam railways that specialise in heritage and group travel.  Also showcasing a recently launched edition of the popular booklet “Big Train, Little Train” which gives a helpful flavour of each of the 11 railways (stand G47).

Manchester City Football Club is promoting its behind-the-scenes tour of the Etihad Stadium and its new player facilities.  Groups can experience Manchester City’s heritage through memorabilia and interactive displays, enabling fans to relive the Blues’ greatest moment.   Also showcasing: The Tunnel Club – one of the most immersive hospitality experiences in world-football (stand A2).

Travel by Knight is exhibiting a new Mercedes Sprinter minicoach converted with no seats, just 12 sleeping berths – a new travel concept allowing groups to travel over 300 miles overnight so that they can maximise their daytime (stand B60).

Group Travel World is offering a free subscription to Group Travel Organisers as a show offer.  The subscription includes a copy of the magazine each month and access to the ticketing website Group Travel Offers, the one-stop-shop for discounted tickets.  The first 50 visitors will receive a free bottle of Baby Cham (stand A15).

Strathmore Hotels is promoting its new packages for groups including all-inclusive drinks vouchers, packed lunches, and entertainment.  Also showcasing: Drams & Dances at Royal Hotel, Oban which includes a drinks reception, afternoon tea, glass of fizz, a Highland Banquet evening, and live Scottish entertainment (stand C11).

Choice Hotels Europe is showcasing four upscale hotel properties that have joined its UK portfolio.  All four hotels are located in the Yorkshire towns and cities of Harrogate, Bradford, Wakefield and Huddersfield (stand D4).

Aberfeldy Distillery is showcasing its new bespoke multi-media app.  The app uses the latest technology to recognise visual ‘trigger points’, accessing additional information, imagery, sound and video when held over them.  Provided in 11 languages, the app also enhances the experience for the distillery’s many overseas visitors (stand B11).

Mill Rythe Holiday Village on Hayling Island is promoting its programme of entertainment breaks for GTOs and their groups to experience in 2018, with new shows and celebrity appearances, including ‘The Ultimate Variety Weekend’ featuring Eddie the Eagle and Too Rex.  This year over £150,000 has been spent on the park and accommodation which has received a four-star rating from Visit England (stand G40).

Bournemouth Pavilion (BH Live) is showcasing its programme of shows, musicals, entertaining performances and family fun in Bournemouth.  Son of a Preacher Man, Thriller Live, The Great Brick Adventure, Hairspray, Evita, and Sleeping Beauty are just some of the acts taking to the town’s best-loved stages at the Grade II listed Art Deco Bournemouth Pavilion theatre and the south coast’s largest event venue, Bournemouth International Centre (stand A39).

Dutch Cruise Line is promoting its river cruises on its three ships, including The Princess-98 client capacity, The Johannes Brahms-80 client capacity and the Fluvius 40 client capacity.  The ships operate tours to the Baltic coast, the Belgium Christmas Market of Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges, Germany’s oldest university town on the scenic river Neckar, and more (stand A41).

Dartington Hall has recently carried out conservation works to its heritage deer park on the estate and are offering tours for groups at a discounted rate of £5.00 per head (stand E40).

East Lancashire Railway is highlighting the return of the famous engine “Flying Scotsman”.  The National Railway Museum owned locomotive has visited the north west railway before back in 2016, following its £4.2million restoration, and will take to the Lancashire line again for series of passenger services and static displays from March – September 2018 (stand A11).

Lucketts Travel is promoting its VIP £400,000 luxury coach.  The Irizar i8 seats 36 people in the amount of space that would normally be used for a 53-seater coach, with reclining leather seats and tables.  Features include a fully-fitted Neff kitchen, five flat screen HD TVs complete with Sky and the option of an on-board host (stand D40).

The Cairn Group is promoting its 33 hotels, from Aberdeen’s far north to the south coast with hotels to suit group needsAlso promoting: The Caen Mémorial museum’s new immersive space and new display cases in the World War II area, ‘30 years of photojournalism’ in partnership, and the ‘Hiroshima’ exhibition (stand C22).

Steve Reed Tourism is showcasing its 2018 Tour Planner events programme which includes: Crook Hall and Gardens, Wynyard Hall Garden Party in Durham, and Gilbert White and Oates Collection Group Event in Hampshire.  Also showcasing offers from retail coach-stop Ena Mill of Atherton (stand G1).

Lovers Canal Cruises is showcasing its canal boat tours in Amsterdam.  Its fleet consists of over 45 boats which has undergone an upgrade, including individual seats and an audio system with over 20 languages (including Spanish, German, but even Hindi and Chinese).  Tours include: a one-hour canal cruise, a pizza/burger cruise, or a four-course dinner cruise for individuals and groups (stand D51).

Marketing Manchester is highlighting its bookable walking tours.  Visitors can hop on the sightseeing bus, take a private taxi tour or jump aboard one of the cruises and see the city by water (stand A1).

Swarovski Crystal Worlds, Austria is exhibiting its 2018 Summer festival: The Enchanted Garden, which takes place during July and August.  Swarovski Crystal Worlds will be transformed daily into a colourful, flower-filled fairy-tale landscape with a flower pavilion, floral installations, artistic interactions, performances, and much more (stand D41).

Stuart Line Cruises is promoting its exclusive discounted ‘groups joint ticket’ to the World of Country Exmouth Life to celebrate its 40th Birthday.  Group organisers can save over £7 per person when pre-booking groups of 20 or more (stand E33).

 Following a €25m investment, Puy du Fou is introducing two new attractions for 2018.  Le Mystère de la Pérouse recreates the worldwide voyage undertaken by Monsieur de la Pérouse in 1785.  Visitors are invited to set sail on ‘La Boussole’, one of the two ships involved in the expedition.  Also showcasing: Le Café de la Madelon, a unique dining experience which recreates the atmosphere of the Belle-Époque (stand D43.2).

Waddesdon Manor & Blenheim Palace is promoting its new 2018 season tours including the popular ‘behind the scenes’ talks where visitors can discover what life was like in Waddesdon’s historic kitchens.  Also promoting: ‘Feast’ over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday 16-17 June, where the North Front of the Manor will be transformed with elaborately decorated tables, and visitors can enjoy a picnic or sample handpicked artisan food and wine stalls (stand B40).

Visit Brussels is showcasing Horta inside out, a year of exhibitions dedicated to the work of architect Victor Horta.  Various activities and exhibitions including ‘Horta and the Waucquez Stores’, ‘Victor Horta’s Studio House’, and ‘The Autrique House: Interior of a townhouse built by Victor Horta’ will take place in locations around the city (stand C42).

Port Sunlight Village is showcasing its new exhibition for 2018, which explores how William Lever made his soap company into a household name and worldwide brand.  Visitors can explore maps, product samples and how the company organised their travelling salesmen to reach a worldwide audience (stand D17).

West Midland Safari & Leisure Park’s schedule for 2018 includes celebrating the birthdays of animals born last year, an education partnership with art exhibit Worcester Stands Tall, and the opening of a new prehistoric exhibit ‘Ice Age’, which is due to arrive in Spring (stand A40).

Berlin Television Tower is focusing on promoting the tower as a meeting place for Berliners and tourists alike. This includes the development of new events and theme nights such as Berlin’s highest After Work: The Bar 203 – where the observation deck turns into Berlin’s highest after work lounge once a month (stand D41).

GTO Magazine is celebrating its 30th year of publication at the show.  Also promoting: The Go Travel Show, which takes place at Kempton Park on Tuesday 17 April, with over 700 group travel and tourism buyers expected to attend and over 100 exhibitors expected (stand A36).

Cornwall Gold is exhibiting its hand-made flop-flop necklaces made from Cornish granite, sterling silver and tin – extracted and processed by the Cornwall Gold team in their very own tin streaming works, Tolgus Tin Mill.  For every necklace sold, Cornwall Gold will donate to the RNLI, who help to keep beaches and waters safe and clean (stand D44).

Europlan is promoting “The Passion Play at 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 metres, to re-enact the glory of Jerusalem in the year 33 AD.  The 2020 edition of the Passion of Sordevolo will take place from June 13 to September 27, 2020 (stand A43).

Visit Hull, Beverley & Bridlington is showcasing Beverley Coach Campaign’s partnership with Fox Mobility, offering an extra service to coach visitors to Beverley, which includes hiring scooters or wheelchairs for £10 a day (stand D27).

Giant Hospitality is highlighting The Fishguard Bay, a 19th century two-star hotel with unrivalled views over the scenic Fishguard Bay.  It’s due to go under a refurbishment programme to increase its grading from two to three stars.  Also showcasing Festive breaks at Fourcroft Hotel, Tenby (stand F37).

Czech Republic – CzechTourism is celebrating its anniversary of the independent Czechoslovakia.  It will primarily commemorate the period known as the First Republic, the twenty years between the First and Second World Wars, with hundreds of cultural, social and sporting events including: ‘Made in Czechoslovakia 1918 to 1992 – Industry which Conquered the World’ – an exhibition at The National Technical Museum (stand B42).

British Tourism & Travel Show returns to NEC Birmingham on 21-22 March 2018.  For further information and to register, please visit (



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