GO Travel Show North 2017 Review

PrintNurturing great trip ideas

The GO Travel Show Southport took place in the Floral Hall at the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre on 30th September and was a successful forum enabling exhibitors and GTOs to network and exchange ideas.

Elizabeth Mounser who helped to organise the show for Landor Travel Publications said:

‘We welcomed a varied range of exhibitors from across the North and further afield as well as near to Southport, and the GTOs attending the show discovered many ideas for their group programmes and how trips and holidays could be tailored to their needs.

‘Special thanks are due to David Ogden Coaches and Globe Holidays who provided coaches to help GTOs attend the show and to the exceptionally helpful team at Southport Theatre & Convention Centre who ensured the show went without a hitch and organised backstage tours around the centre throughout the show. I’d also like to thank our show partner Visit Southport, headed up by Steve Christian, for their hard work in organising the show and for the familiarisation trip, which was also supported by the Jockey Club at Haydock Racecourse and Southport’s Royal Clifton Hotel.’

Natural benefits

One of the most interesting stands promoted the Yorkshire Nature Triangle - led by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The project brings together the very best in wildlife encounters that visitors can enjoy, such as the UK’s largest mainland colony of gannets, the most easily viewable mainland colony of puffins, the most northerly chalk downland streams and the most northerly breeding avocets.

It helps people to learn how to see iconic birds of prey (red kites, marsh harriers and hen harriers), top bird migration hotspots, internationally important wetlands and some of the most popular ‘must see’ species for wildlife watchers including otters, bitterns, bearded tits, seals, porpoises, whales and dolphins.

Heritage for all!

Exhibiting alongside the Carnforth Heritage Centre was Leighton Hall and Bay Tourism demonstrating the strong visitor offer of this part of Lancashire. Whilst over the Pennines, Bronte Parsonage Museum and the Keighley & Worth Valley railway offered ideas for groups visiting Haworth. GTOs were also able to learn about the latest developments and exhibitions at Durham Cathedral. Meanwhile, the team from Visit Stoke focused on visits to the Potteries with its unique ceramic heritage.

‘An inspiring weekend and day’

Feedback from the show and the weekend was excellent with many GTOs commenting that they were surprised by the attractive and historic character of Southport and how much there was to do in the immediate vicinity.

Several GTOs took the opportunity to extend their visit in the area, staying two or three additional nights to do more research for their future programmes. Their expeditions included local historic houses, the Antony Gormley sculptures on Crosby Beach and Liverpool – which was easy to get to by train from Southport.

Comments below are typical of those made:

‘The Show itself was very informative and no matter how well you think you know an area these shows will invariably introduce you to somewhere that you hadn’t realised was in that part of the world.’

‘I enjoyed the travel show... I got a lot of very good ideas, but just wish I could have spent longer there. I do hope you will be coming back next year.’

Showcase for Southport

GTOs were able to discover Southport’s rich and varied tourism offer combining its traditional seafront with an elegant town centre and the events programme, which includes activities such as the Arts Festival, Southport Flower Show and the British Musical Fireworks Championship. Coach Welcome Hosts can be booked for every group visit to the town and benefits include a discount voucher booklet for every member of your group. Southport Pleasureland was also at the show with details of group visits to the family friendly attraction.

Steve Christian, Destination Development Manager

“We were really pleased with the quality of the visitors this year, we made many new contacts and met ‘old friends’. We’re in favour of one-day shows – one busy day, less time out of the office really works for us.”

A day at the races!

As part of the fam visit organised in conjunction with the Southport GO Travel show GTOs were able to enjoy a day of racing at Haydock Park courtesy of the Jockey Club.

On arrival at the racecourse, GTOs were welcomed with tea, coffee and a selection of delicious home made cakes, which were served in the Twin Oaks Room – the VIP area where owners and trainers of the winning horse gather after each race to celebrate their victory.

Mike Sarath welcomed the group and from the vantage point of the parade ring introduced the racecourse – pointing out the Jockey Weighing room and other areas - but because there was a race-meeting these were closed to public on the day. Following this, GTOs were able to enjoy the afternoon’s racing at the beautifully landscaped course and one or two reported success as their horses came home to win but others were not so lucky!

Sheffield based GTO, Janis Helliwell, said:

‘It was interesting to visit Haydock and learn about all the facilities there. Back in Southport, the firework display was stunning and we would consider coming back and buying a weekend ticket to experience the whole event.’

2018 ideas invited

We are now planning venues and dates for 2020’s GO Travel Shows for the North and Midlands, which will build on the success of this year to highlight the rich tourism offer of these parts of the country. If you would be interested in partnering with us to host the show, please contact Val Baynton on val.baynton@grouptravelorganiser.com.