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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 08/08/2022

Blog from Rona Wallace, Senior Manager Business Growth & Development, VisitScotland

This summer, we enjoyed a first for Scotland as the Coach Tourism Association (CTA) held their annual Summer Networking Event for their members in Glasgow.

We hosted the event in partnership with the CTA, Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council. It's usually held at locations across England and Wales, so it was a real coup when the CTA decided on Glasgow as a preferred option.

The CTA's event gave Scottish businesses the chance to engage with the mature UK coach tourism market in-person.

UK coach tour operators are important to many businesses in Scotland, particularly some large hotels and visitor attractions who have capacity in the autumn and winter months and during the week, driving additional spend into their restaurants and retail.

The CTA Summer Networking event delegates in Glasgow

Delegates at the Summer Networking Event in Glasgow

Engaging with the travel trade

Engaging with the travel trade is really important for a whole host of reasons, it's much more than the advantage of discounts for groups.

Many holidaymakers go looking for inspiration, information and are influenced by the travel trade (tour operators and travel agents) to help choose a destination and plan their trip, with online travel businesses taking a growing share of the market.

In addition to our consumer marketing like our Scotland is Calling campaign, my team provides a comprehensive programme of activities to engage the travel trade. 

Our own travel trade platform Discover Scotland 2022 features five regional live showcases for international tour operators and travel agents to immerse themselves fully in Scottish experiences and engage with Scottish businesses.

We host familiarisation trips and workshop events in Scotland with the travel trade which is a key part of our activity to rebuild demand for Scotland in the UK and our international markets. 

The Coach Tourism Association event

The Coach Tourism Association has been a valued partner for many years, and we couldn't wait to show them exactly why Glasgow is renowned as an extremely accessible, warm and welcoming destination. It offers visitors a range of experiences around heritage, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, contemporary art, a thriving live music scene and is a world class event and sporting destination. 

The city is ideally located for coach touring parties as a base when heading to Stirling, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, Argyll & the Isles and Ayrshire & Arran. The islands can be easily reached by long-standing CTA partner Caledonian MacBrayne ferries.

Delegates were taken on trips to the Riverside Museum, the Clydeside Distillery, the newly reopened Burrell Collection and Pollok House.

The CTA's summer networking event enabled us, alongside Glasgow Life and attending Scottish CTA members, to promote Glasgow City and Scottish coach-friendly products to a range of UK coach tour operators and wholesalers, with the aim to rebuild Scotland's tourism industry post-pandemic.

Responsible tourism is one of our key commitments and coach tourism aligns with our objectives of providing a year-round destination and spreading the benefits of tourism to a variety of locations.

According to the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, "coaches are among the cleanest, greenest vehicles on our roads, with average carbon dioxide emissions per passenger per journey being around five times lower than air travel and six times lower than car travel. One coach-load of people – which can keep up to 50 cars off the roads – amounts to notable savings in carbon dioxide emissions."

We hope delegates enjoyed their time in Glasgow as much as we did hosting them and look forward to welcoming visitors and operators by coach very soon.

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