Return of the travel trade

Marketing Liverpool’s James Wood tells us about the event he attended, to encourage travel trade back to the city…

Last week marked an important step in the recovery of tourism, as the British Travel and Tourism Show returned to the NEC in Birmingham.

This is the first live trade show that we had attended for the travel trade market since Covid – this one had been postponed from March 2020. The audience here is mainly group tour operators, travel agents and coach companies – so for the city this translates into regular, high-volume business with overnight stays.

Liverpool City Region at the British Travel and Tourism Show 2021

Over the last few years, we have built up an excellent presence at the show. We actually sell the opportunity to our tourism partners who can then join us on the stand. This year we had one of the biggest stands at the show with ten partners; Liverpool FC, Everton FC, National Museums Liverpool, Beatles Story, Cavern Club, Strawberry Field, The Romans, Mersey Ferries, ACC Liverpool and Royal Liver Building 360. Interestingly I think we made history with both Liverpool FC and Everton FC exhibiting together on the same stand!

I was slightly worried that the event would be a little flat with people staying away – how wrong I was! Numbers were down on previous years, however we saw a strong and steady flow of visitors over the two days and we generated 150 enquiries. Several of the partners have secured new business from it too, so we are delighted that we are seeing a positive return on our attendance already.

We also decided to launch our new Groups Guide, which has been received well. This covers important elements for the industry such as coach parking and drop off points, itinerary ideas for groups and new tourism products, events and accommodation. Visitors to the stand were keen to start bringing groups back to the city and they are reporting a pent-up demand which is all very positive.

The event attracted some media interest too, with trade media coming to source ideas and a local TV station reporting back on the show here – they collared me for an interview too!

Liverpool City Region at the British Travel and Tourism Show 2021

Looking towards next year Liverpool has been chosen to host the annual Coach Tourism Association (CTA) annual conference which will be the perfect opportunity to showcase our city and tourism offer to their 300 members.

This kind of work cannot be done virtually, so the absence of events over the last 18 months have hindered the travel trade’s ability to create new business. It’s such a relief to be back, speaking with partners and ultimately to be bringing more people to see our magnificent city.

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