CTC Chief Executive, Chris Wales, reports on upcoming events . . .

The CTC is currently looking into how, in the future, it can expand its membership and how it can also do more to promote travel and tourism by coach.

CTC Chief Executive, Chris Wales

CTC Chief Executive, Chris Wales

Over the past three years, we’ve made huge strides in raising the profile of touring by coach in the consumer media, while building links with strategic partners in the tourism industry.
While our membership continues to rise (to now stand at 280), we can only continue to evolve and move forward by attracting another 50 members and building a partnership programme with our key supporters, which will help us raise additional finance to invest more in PR and do more for our members.
We hope those attending our AGM in early June will join the discussion on the future direction of the CTC so that we can establish a strategic development programme to take us through to the end of 2012.
The AGM has become an increasingly important event in the CTC calendar and we are very grateful to Accor Hospitality for hosting the meeting and networking event at their four-star Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel & Spa, part of an 18th century manor house set in the countryside just outside Shrewsbury.
With a familiarisation trip to the nearby World Heritage Site of Ironbridge Gorge on the Sunday afternoon, as well as a networking evening and dinner, it is a not to be missed event. The AGM includes the annual elections to the Board.
Looking back to last month, CTC member, VisitScotland, reported another excellent attendance for its VisitScotland Expo, held this year in the historic city of Aberdeen. The exhibition showcases the very best of what Scotland can offer groups and has become a must attend event for GTOs and coach operators who organise trips north of the border and around the Scottish Isles. CTC member, Karen Nolan, from Johnsons Coaches of Henley-in-Arden summed it up by saying “Scotland continues to be the perfect destination and one of the most popular for coach tours.”
Of course, while UK tours have become increasingly popular over the past two years, there are signs that tours to the Continent are making a comeback with more holidays included in 2011 coach brochures.
Sailing across the Channel is a key factor in the travel experience so I was delighted to see the modern face of the ferry industry when I recently boarded P&O’s new super ferry ‘Spirit of Britain’. Sailing between Dover and Calais, this impressive vessel is 213 metres long and, at a gross tonnage of 49,000, is the largest ship on the Dover Straits.
Although the ferry can carry over 50 coaches, on most sailings there is an allocation of up to 25 to ensure there is comfortable room for up to 1,750 passengers. The ship certainly raises the standard for car ferries and I am sure will be hugely popular with coach operators and GTOs.
CTC operators are being invited on future familiarisation visits to two of the country’s most famous horse racing tracks. Ascot, which is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, is hosting members for lunch and an afternoon of racing in the Grandstand at the meeting on 9th July.
Then, on 11th August, there is a chance to visit the National Horse Racing Museum, as well as enjoy lunch, afternoon tea and, of course, the racing, as guests of Newmarket Racecourses.

Coach Tourism Logo

In between, we have the CTC’s Summer Barbecue on 31st July at the four-star Thistle Cheltenham Hotel, set in landscaped grounds just outside Cheltenham.
This is another increasingly popular event and we look forward to welcoming members and potential members.