Over the last few months, Devon businesses have been working to promote the region nationally to group travel operators, coach operators and tour operators who are looking to branch out and offer tours in the South West of England. The Familiarisation Trip was organised by Devon’s Top Attractions and showcased the English Riviera, Exeter and East Devon.

In conjunction with Torquay’s TLH Leisure, who hosted the visitors, the event was hugely successful.

Sarah Briggs from Ashley and Newey, based in Darlington, has already been in touch with Kents Cavern to organise trips and is also keen to include TLH Leisure in future tours. She said: “Thank you to you and your team for all your hard work in organising this event. A thoroughly enjoyable week and very useful from my perspective. […] hope to […] talk about some dates at the Toorak and start taking another look at how we can use the dates we’re already holding in Devon with some new ideas.”

The showcase event offered three full days visiting a selection of Devon’s top attractions, including the Donkey Sanctuary, Seaton Tramway, World of Country Life, Stuart Line Cruises, Visit Exeter, Bygones, Babbacombe Theatre and Kents Cavern among others, with visitors staying at TLH Leisure’s Toorak Hotel in Torquay.

With a full itinerary, there was a wide range of things to see and do across South and East Devon.

Tourism companies get a taste of Devon

Day 1

Torre Abbey, Torquay
Welcome drinks reception, presentation and dinner. The visit kicked off with an Attraction and Destination Showcase, this give the opportunity for attractions and destinations not included in the itinerary to showcase themselves.

Day 2

Trips to Stuart Line Crises, World of Country Life, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Visit Exeter and Powderham Castle and a visit to Babbacombe Theatre after dinner.

Day 3

Trips to Seaton Tramway, Pecorama, Donkey Sanctuary, Bicton Park Botanical Gardens

Day 4

Trips to Kents Cavern, Babbacombe Model Village, Bygones, South Devon Railway and Buckfast Abbey.

VDI blog Tourism companies get a taste of Devon

Helen Stone, from Brent Thomas Coaches, a company based in Wales, looking to offer tours in the South West of England said: “[This was] my first Showcase Break and let’s just say, you set the bar extremely high in all areas!

“I thoroughly enjoyed the week, from the accommodation to attractions, the weather to the company and not forgetting, the constant food!

“There was a wealth of knowledge amongst the group too and I enjoyed every moment. I’m looking forward to offering the attractions to private groups as well as looking where we could drop some into day trips.”

Through organising trips like this, group tour operators, coach touring companies and others will be able to see why they should be including trips to Devon in their portfolios.

This Familiarisation visit was organised by Devon’s Top Attractions. The visits are offered as part of the Devon4Groups strategy and are promoted at the British Tourism and Travel Show at the NEC, which are attended by Visit Devon and Devon’s Top Attractions.