CTA visits Newcastle for annual conference

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The CTA’s annual conference took place over the last weekend in January. CTA/DANIEL SMYTH

Around 200 Coach Tourism Association (CTA) members headed to Newcastle upon Tyne over the weekend of 28-30 January for the organisation’s annual Conference & Workshop. Coach operators, wholesalers, and tourism suppliers, from attractions to hotels, attended the event, which was based at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hotel and included the CTA Meet the Buyer Workshop, which the CTA says is the coach tourism industry’s biggest opportunity for networking. Last year’s event resulted in some 800 meetings between buyers and suppliers.

Guest speakers at the event will include Deputy England Director at VisitEngland Lyndsey Turner Swift as well as the star of Channel 4’s Coach Trip series, Brendan Sheerin.

The conference session featured Carol Southall, Head of Staffordshire Business School, who discussed a proposal for a research project in collaboration with CTA. Ian Thomas, Visitor Economy Director at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, also highlighted the tourism attractions in the region keen to welcome coach groups.

The event’s familiarisation trips include a Newcastle tour, as well as visits to Raby Castle in County Durham and Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. Ahead of the Conference weekend, event delegates also visited the Auckland Project in Bishop Auckland. Following the Conference, DFDS provided a trip to Amsterdam.

CTA’s partners, including DFDS, Tourism Ireland, VisitScotland, Visit Wales, and Wrightsure, also presented to CTA members during a networking lunch.

“This year’s Conference & Workshop is set to be one of the best subscribed events in the organisation’s history, and we’re delighted to be in Newcastle upon Tyne,” said CTA Chair Robert Shaw. “The annual meeting’s growing popularity is thanks to its business development potential, as well as the opportunity to discuss key issues facing the industry. The strong attendance is also a reflection on the positivity within the sector.”