A group of Travel Counsellors from the United Arab Emirates has explored English destinations and racecourses in the ‘Horse Racing – Sport of Kings’ tourism initiative.
Funded by a grant from the £40 million Discover England Fund, the project promotes English luxury sporting and heritage breaks to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.
The travel agents’ fam trip visited five destinations and six racecourses, with highlights such as race days at Newmarket, the global ‘Home of Horseracing’, and the parade ring at Royal Ascot.
Their itinerary included Windsor Castle, a tour of York, a trip to Manor House Stables in Cheshire, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art at Newmarket.
The agents stayed at The Mere Golf Resort & Spa in Knutsford, The Grand Hotel & Spa in York, The Wellesley Hotel in Knightsbridge and Egerton House in Newmarket.
The ‘Sport of Kings’ scheme was launched during the Dubai World Cup in March and luxury itineraries are currently available for American Express Middle East Cardmembers with access to Premium Travel Concierge Services. They will become available through other partners in the future.
Maggie Bootsman, general manager of Travel Counsellors UAE, said: “The Sport of Kings opportunity is a unique experience for anyone interested in horse racing in England.
“For serious enthusiasts, it is a dream come true to have a behind-the-scenes look at the history of the sport and to see the modern-day facilities.
“The racecourses we visited can facilitate bespoke packages and experiences and I am delighted that Travel Counsellors UAE can enable this for our GCC clients.”
Kate Dawson, head of sales and commercial at Chester Racecourse, said: “We wanted to provide our guests from Travel Counsellors with the integral Chester Racecourse experience and took the opportunity to provide a fully bespoke itinerary.
“This initiative provides us with opportunities to collectively promote our unique racing offering, while linking to key heritage destinations – all to an international market.”
‘Sport of Kings’ tailored luxury packages will be launched later in 2018, featuring experiences such as those enjoyed on the fam trip, with activities such as VIP tours of racehorse stud farms and training stables, as well as visits to heritage properties, including Castle Howard, and attractions such as Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground.
Pictured from left: Andy McKinney (Marketing Cheshire), Gareth Roberts (VisitEngland), Alison Slater, Maggie Bootsman, Naomi Carr (all Travel Counsellors), and Kirk McDonald, (VisitBritain). Photo: Ian Southerin