This year’s British Coach Tourism Awards (BCTAs) on 21 March was “one of the best editions yet”, say its organisers.
The sell-out event filled up the Imperial Suite at the National Motorcycle Museum, with 20 accolades awarded to the cream of the coach tourism industry, including coach tour operators and group-friendly hotels, attractions and destinations.
Hosted by Angela Rippon, and with stunning entertainment provided by the London Cabaret Club, the atmosphere on the night was electric. Guests had the opportunity to roam the museum in a Bat Out of Hell-themed drinks reception provided by Made, before the awards kicked off with dinner and the London Cabaret Club’s Best of British Pop-themed acts.
Coach tour operator winners included Hough’s of Lincolnshire, Bayliss Executive Travel and Bakers Dolphin, as well as Gardiners NMC, Shaws of Maxey and Travel by Knight.
Winners from the supplier side included the National Memorial Arboretum, Lovers Canal Cruises, Hilton Worldwide, Broads Tours, ICT Group Travel and Bateaux London.
A standing ovation was given when Brian Way, late director of Wayahead Travel, was announced as the winner of the British Coach Tourism Award. His wife Carol collected the award, and the reaction from the audience was a poignant tribute to the much-loved industry professional, who passed away last year.
About Brian, the judges said: “As a great socialiser, his popularity equalled his professionalism. It would be very hard to find anyone in our industry who would not be proud to say that they have been his business colleague and, more importantly, a personal friend. His health challenges never stopped him from participating in the industry he loved.”
The winners are:
- Coach Friendly Destination: Beverley
- Coach Friendly Attraction: National Memorial Arboretum
- European Coach Friendly Attraction: Lovers Canal Cruises
- Cross-Sea Carrier: Condor Ferries
- River and Inland Cruise Operator: Broads Tours
- Heritage Railway: West Somerset Railway
- Accommodation Provider (independent hotels): Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton
- Accommodation Provider (hotel groups): Hilton Worldwide
- Tour Wholesaler and Industry Supplier: ICT Group Travel
- Dining Experience: Bateaux London
- Theatre Production – readers’ choice award: 42nd Street
- Holiday Programme: Gardiners NMC
- Day Excursion Programme: Shaws of Maxey
- Coach Tourism Innovation of the Year: Travel by Knight
- Coach Tourism Professional of the Year: Adrian Smith, Melanie Cox, Alistair Scott – Gardiners NMC
- Coach Tour Driver of the Year: Michael Blowers – Bakers Dolphin
- Coach Tour Operator – Small Fleet (1-5 coaches): Hough’s of Lincolnshire
- Coach Tour Operator – Medium Fleet (6-15 coaches): Bayliss Executive Travel
- Coach Tour Operator – Large Fleet (more than 15 coaches): Bakers Dolphin
- The British Coach Tourism Recognition Award: Brian Way, Wayahead Travel.
Highly Commended certificates were also awarded to Belleek Pottery (Coach Friendly Attraction), Marine Hotel (Accommodation Provider – independent hotels), Norman Allen Group Travel (Tour Wholesaler and Industry Supplier), Planet Hollywood (Dining Experience), Lucketts Travel (Holiday Programme), and Miriam Unsworth (Coach Tour Driver of the Year).
Huge congratulations to all the winners and finalists.