The British Tourism & Travel Show welcomed 2,866 attendees over the two days of the domestic trade show at the NEC Birmingham (March 21-22).
The Keynote Theatre hosted sessions from Ruairidh Roberts (Google), Jody Farrer (Chute), Justin East (Merlin Entertainments), Andy Headington (Adido), Max Sinclair (EcoCompanion), Andy Woodward (MTMI Quality in Tourism), and panel sessions from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (chaired by Bernard Donoghue) and the Association of Group Travel Organisers (chaired by Wendy Hartley-Scarff).
David Maguire, BTTS event director, said the attendance numbers rose 10%.
“The buzz on site was electric this year, with an array of pop-up entertainment performances surprising visitors, coupled with over 270 exhibiting companies,” he said.
“Big names joined us in the Keynote Theatre including national treasure Angela Rippon.
“Visitor numbers reached a record high and we can’t wait to get to work on the next edition, taking place on March 20-21, 2019 at the NEC, Birmingham.”
The second day of the show was dedicated to group travel organisers, and featured a new GTO Lounge, offering the chance to network with like-minded professionals.
Many GTOs arrived at the NEC in coaches arranged by Happy Days Holidays and Belle Vue Coaches.
The show also presented its first GTO Special Recognition Award, in partnership with the Association of Group Travel Organisers, to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of group travel organisers. This year’s award went to Mary Gotts, GTO for Ver-Colne Valley U3A, for her “methodical” and “professional” attitude to groups, and the fact that “she works tirelessly to ensure her group have the best holidays ever”.
There were 270 exhibitors from across the UK and beyond, from coastal retreats to country farm parks, from historic houses and villages to big city attractions.
Highlights included the new Food and Drink Trail, which allowed visitors to sample treats from across the British Isles such as Cornish fudge, Scottish whisky, Welsh cakes, British cassis and Exeter gin.
Many exhibiting companies have already rebooked for the next BTTS in 2019.
Among them are Warner Leisure Hotels, Eurotunnel, The World of James Herriot, Great Days Travel Group, Roeville Reservations Software, Distinctive Systems, JCD Recruitment, Devon’s Top Attractions, Norman Allen Group Travel, and The Royal Horticultural Society.
Dick Wood, vice-chairman of the Devon Association of Tourist Attractions, commented: “It’s one of the best shows in the tourism calendar. We come here every year and we have nine members with us.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from travel operators, group travel operators, organisers and various other people, which is great.”