Encore boss becomes new CTA chairman

John Wales, director and co-founder of ticketing agency Encore, has become the new chairman at the Coach Tourism Association.

He takes over from Denise Bridges (Albatross Travel) – who has held the post for three years – during the CTA’s annual Coach Holiday Conference in Blackpool.

The conference also saw the election of new board members: Daniel Kirby (Kirby’s Coaches); Roger Bull (RB Travel) and Colin Fawcus (DFDS Ferries), along with Robert Shaw (Harry Shaw) as vice-chairman.

Wales said: “I am delighted and honoured to be elected chairman of the CTA, having been a board member for over six years and involved in the industry since 1982, working in various aspects of the trade – a ferry company, tour operators, restaurants and latterly, the founder and CEO of Encore since 2000.

“The timing is perfect. Now we have a new CEO in place at Encore, I have the increased capacity to dedicate to the role and over the next three months, along with the association’s CEO Chris Wales (no relation), the new vice-chairman, Robert Shaw, I will be working with the board to devise the vision and strategy for the CTA, that will deliver a clear direction and increased value to members going forward.”

Delegates took part in a Q&A session with Anita Rani, presenter of the BBC show Countryfile, along with producer of the Countryfile Live event Tim Etchells.

A major group attraction, Countryfile Live will be held this year at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire (August 2-5).

The three-day event will feature stars from the TV show, animal attractions, food and drink stalls, shopping and a wildlife zone.

The conference also held a B2B workshop with more than 500 speed-dating appointments with suppliers from all over the UK.

Other speakers at the conference included Philip Welsh, head of visitor economy at Blackpool Council, talking about developments at the destination and updated delegates about developments in Blackpool and Silver Travel Advisor’s managing director, Debbie Marshall, highlighting the importance of the over-50s market.

Pictured at the conference is John Wales (second from left) with new board members, from the left: Daniel Kirby, Colin Fawcus and Roger Bull.