Welcome to the Official Website for the ASSOCIATION OF Group Travel Organisers 

Email: agto@agto.co.uk      Tel: 01787 221022  

The AGTO is an independent organisation representing the interests of those who organise tours and trips for groups as well as those who provide services for group travel.

The Association has over 200 supplier members that provide GTOs with information on everything from tours,  hotels and destinations to museums, galleries, gardens and attractions.

Our supplier members can support you with organising day trips, overnights, short haul or long haul excursions as well as offering exclusive fam trips and educationals. For more information just click on the 'Special Offers' link below.

The AGTO also offers our Organiser members an exclusive Organisers Liability Insurance Scheme as well as free legal advice and much more.

AGTO - The Organisation For Organisers!

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Documents and offers on this website are in PDF format. If you cannot open them you will need to download Adobe Reader. This is FREE and SAFE to do by clicking here (link opens in a new window)

Photo credits: VisitBritain, VisitScotland, VisitEngland/VisitGreenwich, Dean & Chapter of Westminster


AGTO Notice Board

ALL CHANGE ... AGAIN UNFORTUNATELY BTTS IS NOW POSTPONED UNTIL THE

22-23RD OCTOBER 2020

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LATEST covid-19 UPDATES FROM THE GOVERNMENT

30.3.2020

Changes to Insolvency and Company Rules

Over the weekend BEIS minister, Alok Sharma, announced that the Government would be introducing legislation to support businesses that would otherwise be operating illegally due to being technically insolvent. There will be a  temporary suspension of “wrongful trading” rules which make it a criminal offence for a company to keep trading if they know the business is unable to repay its debts, with new rules allowing companies undergoing restructuring to continue to access supplies and raw materials. This will also remove the threat of Directors having personal liability for their business and  will apply retrospectively from March 1.

 He also announced that companies required to hold Annual General Meetings will be able to do so flexibly in a matter compatible with public health guidance such as holding the AGM online, or by phone using only proxy voting.

.Guidance on Mental Health and Wellbeing

While everyone is working hard to deal with the business and employment impacts of Coronavirus, one of the overlooked issues of this is the impact on the mental health of business owners and employees. To help with this, the Government has produced guidance on how to protect people from the psychological impacts which is worth sending out to support your members. The key suggestions are:

  1. Consider how to connect with others
  2. Help and support others
  3. Talk about your worries
  4. Look after your physical wellbeing
  5. Look after your sleep
  6. Try to manage difficult feelings
  7. Manage your media and information intake
  8. Get the facts
  9. Think about your new daily routine
  10. Do things you enjoy
  11. Set goals
  12. Keep your mind active
  13. Take time to relax and focus on the present
  14. If you can, once a day get outside, or bring nature in

 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing

 

Latest Government advice and links - 24th March 2020

  1. The UK Government has sent out an SMS message to people across the UK alerting them of the latest coronavirus measures.
  2. Extra protection has been announced for commercial tenants to protect them from eviction if they are unable to pay rent because of Coronavirus.
  3. The Foreign Secretary has advised all British travellers to return to the UK.
  4. The UK Government has released guidance on the closure of all non-essential businesses and premises as part of further social distancing measures. It states that accommodation businesses should close unless they are providing for key workers or are a permanent residence. (repeat as per this morning’s update)
  5. New guidance on staying at home and away from others has been released – the guidance covers – staying at home, closing non-essential shops and public spaces, stopping public gatherings and delivering these new measures. (repeat as per this morning’s update)
  6. The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility is now open. Information for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has also been added.
  7. Updates to the Guidance for UK businesses trading internationally, including a business support helpline
  8. Updated guidance has been released which sets out details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

 

Other travel measures, advice and updates - 24th March 2020

  1. Etihad has announced that as of 11.59pm (UAE local time) on Wednesday 25 March 2020, all Etihad Airways services to, from and via the UAE will be temporarily suspended, due to the UAE flight suspension. You should only travel to the airport if you are a UAE National flying to Abu Dhabi. No other guests will be accepted to fly.
  2. Qantas has announced that all Qantas and Jetstar international flights from Australia will be suspended from the end of March until at least 31 May 2020. Some additional services may be considered to assist with repatriation.  More than 150 aircraft will be grounded during this time, including all of Qantas’ A380s, 747s and B787s. 
  3. Ryanair Group has announced that it expects most of its fl­ights to be grounded from today, Tuesday 24 March onwards. It has offered its aircraft to all EU Governments, both for rescue ­flights and to operate essential ­flights for the movement of vital medicines, personal protective equipment, and if necessary, emergency food supplies.
  4. The 2020 Olympic Games in Japan have been postponed.
  5. World Health Organization and FIFA have launched a joint campaign to equip football community to tackle COVID-19.
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Join VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s marketing response 

VisitBritain/VisitEngland has launched a social marketing campaign to keep Britain top of visitors’ minds during international and UK travel bans. The campaign aims to share inspirational content based on popular British culture such as recipes, TV and film shows, literature and more, for people to enjoy in their own homes. Find out how to get involved

 

VisitEngland is continuing to update a page on their Business Advice Hub offering advice for tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19.

 

COVID - 19 - LOCK DOWN

You will have all seen or heard the PM’s announcement tonight essentially announcing a lockdown apart from people in essential services. The only reasons for people to leave their homes are for:

 

  1. shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  2. one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;
  3. any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  4. travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

For full information click here

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ABTA is set to issue guidelines on Monday regarding refunds to consumers in order to protect tour operators, as nothing is forthcoming from the Government.

Follow the link to find full details:  click here

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FANTASTIC SHOWCASE WEEKEND AT ETTINGTON CHASE, STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

21st - 23rd february 2020

Over 115 delegates got together for the 2020 AGTO Showcase Weekend and what a great time was had by all.

Jade, AGTO Administrator welcoming delegates

Proceedings started with the Welcome session  on the Friday with Wendy Hartley-Scarff, CEO welcoming everyone to the event, this was followed by a very informative interesting presentation from Helen Peters, CEO of Shakespeare's  England.  

The delightful Debbie Marshall, MD of Silver Travel Advisors then proceeded to tell us about the vagrancies of the older 50s traveller, vastly entertaining and I think we all learnt something even if it was only the existence of "smart pants"!!

"Bondage or bonding" was the subject for Stuart Render,  a very difficult slot after the launghter of Debbie's speech.

     Debbie Marshall, Helen Peters, Wendy Hartley-Scarff

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The formal welcome completed, we gathered that evening for drinks, kindly sponsored by cruise & maritime followed by the networking dinner.

the highlight of the evening was the venue announcement for the agto showcase weekend 2021

FOR our 30th anniversary, we are launching something completely different, and we are going CRUISING!

 

6th-8th January 2021 - Liverpool to Southampton - Black Watch - W2101 - Adults only (18+)

Zoe, Joan, Wendy and Ellie

OUR THANKS GO TO eLLIE & ZOE OF FRED. OLSEN and Joan Hanks, AGTo Director FOR PUTTING THIS GREAT TRIp TOGETHER FOR AGTO MEMBERS. 

CALL FRED.OLSEN 01473 742424 QUOTING GRP0138 AND CRUISE CODE W2101 

 

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Saturday morning saw a record number of Associates exhibiting at the showcase giving our GTOs the opportunity to mix, mingle and gain new contacts and inspiration for their future trips.

Phil Sylvester, Kent Branch chatting with Monique White, Continuum

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Delegates then enjoyed their choice of FAM trip seeing  more of the beautiful historic venues and countryside of Stratford Upon Avon and its' surroundings.

FAM Trip A - Conquerors & Waterways

FAM Trip B - Heritage Greats

FAM Trip C - Castles & Costumes

Our thanks have to go to Helen Peters and her team from  Shakespeare's England for some amazing trips.  Being a part of the group travel industry there will always be soome unforeseen problem to contend with and Helen's team did admirably when the cruise on the River Avon was cancelled due to Health & Safety issues with the height of the water on the Avon.  Job well done team.

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Saturday night saw an amazing Gala Dinner with a 1920s, Peaky Blinders theme, following Welcome Drinks and gin tasting with Shakespeares Gin, the evening was kindly sponsored by 

 

Everyone was encouraged to wear the 1920s themed outfits with a prize for the best dressed, this was won my Matthew Coulter from Historic Royal Palaces.  We were entertained by the Silk Street 4 acoustic jazz band and the Flapper Dancers, (pictured below) followed by a guest DJ who kept the dance floor full until late.

    

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday morning saw the gathering of the Branches in various meetings prior to the AGTO 2020 AGM, attended by delegates.

Everything went without a hitch and the GTOs then departed on their final FAM trip to Compton Verney and Lord Leycester Hospital.

Overall a really great weekend enjoyed by everyone, further details and photo album, courtesy of Stuart Render, click here 

Additional excellent photos of Kennilworth Castle and Costume Store, one of the FAM trips, from our member Tony Wright click here 

Thank you to Stuart & Tony for their photos.

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Uk TOURISM STATISTICS 2019

2019 Tourism Statistics Publication

With it increasing looking like we will have an election before the end of the year, the Tourism Alliance have produced a new version of the Tourism Statistics publication which is a compendium of facts and figures that you can use in putting together manifestos, lobbying documents and submissions. The headline figures are that tourism generates revenue of £149.5bn per annum. This is up £18.5bn over the last two years – which is growth of 14.5% - making tourism one of the UK’s largest and most successful industries.  If you would like a full copy of the report, please contact: ceo1@agto.co.uk 

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LEGAL HELPLINE

ALL AGTO MEMBERS ARE ENTITLED TO FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE

 

30 minutes free telephone advice at a time, on areas such as:

-Litigation (i.e. customer or supplier disputes);

-Commercial (i.e. advice regarding Terms and Conditions, Agreements, GDPR etc.);

-Regulatory (i.e. advice concerning the Package Travel Regulations, ATOL Regulations etc.);

-Intellectual Property;

-Corporate Legal Advice;

-Health and Safety.

CALL 0113 258 0033

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EVENTS DIARY AND TRADE SHOWS

AGTO attends all the major trade shows during the year. It also exhibits at many of the regional trade events.  For the latest Events Diary listing, click here


Read the Latest AGTO MAGAZINE

Last one in the current format, next edition will be revamped with look, feel and content.  Click here

RECENT ARTICLES IN THE PRESS

See AGTO's latest in the Press, click here

 

HMRC Business Support Helpline - 0800 024 1222

HMRC have opened a dedicated helpline for businesses and the self-employed to answer queries or concerns regarding tax payments and finding solutions including:

  1. agreeing an instalment arrangement
  2. suspending debt collection proceedings
  3. cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

For fulldetails:  click here

Coronavirus WhatsApp Information Service

The Govt has started a Whatsapp information service get provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus out to as many people as possible. It will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting via a chatbot.

To use this free service, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

Full information click here

 

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New dates for the British Tourism and Travel Show 2020 – how does this affect you?

COMMENT FROM BTTS TEAM

"With the current situation regarding COVID-19 we have made the very difficult decision to postpone the British Tourism and Travel Show. Due to the magnitude and unanticipated public health and safety issues posed by the rapidly escalating COVID-19 we feel that this is the most sensible option to protect the safety of all our guests.

The new dates are Thursday 11th – Friday 12th June still at the NEC, Birmingham. We have an amazing show ready for you to source new ideas and meet teams from leading destinations, attractions and hotels. The keynote theatre is jam-packed full of inspiring content, delivered by leading travel experts.

We would like to sincerely thank you for your continued support and patience during this challenging time. And look forward to welcoming you to what is surely the most important British Travel and Tourism Show ever on 11th-12th June."

Further information please click here 

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VisitScotland Expo 2020 1st - 2nd april - Cancelled


Due to a significant number of cancellations caused by Coronavirus (Covid-19) it is with regret that VisitScotland has decided to cancel this year’s VisitScotland Expo that was due to take place on 1 and 2 April at P&J Live in Aberdeen.

For further information please visit : click here 

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IMPORTANT news

AGTO has always stressed the need for Members to make sure they use Operators who are sufficiently bonded - make sure you use a responsible and financially sound tour operator and always ensure you have proof that adequate Bonding is in place.  

Unfortunately all too often Members continue to carry out their business without their own Insurance relying on the Operators.                  NB:  Always check the bonding credentials

Unfortunately we have had news of a couple of businesses that have collapsed leaving customers with no recourse:   East Anglia Holidays and Carol Peters Coachs in Kent                  

https://www.edp24.co.uk/business/holiday-company-east-anglian-homes-collapsed-owing-90-000-1-6471805

https://theisleofthanetnews.com/2020/01/19/carol-peters-travel-apologises-to-customers/

 

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PACKAGE TRAVEL DIRECTIVE EFFECTIVE

1 JULY 2018

What is the EU Package Travel Directive?

Information from Towergate plus a protective policy click here

gdpr

The new legislation came into effect on the 25th May and with all the hype around the new elements of the ruling we can be forgiven for getting a little worried, but advice from our Advisors, Travlaw is:

Special Bulletins were issued to all members in May highlighting the changes together with some FAQs received from AGTO members.

To read the Special Bulletins click here  FAQs click here

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SCOTLAND DEVELOPMENTS  

GREAT NEWS – SPECIAL OFFER

 

Especially for AGTO GTO members National Trust Scotland has replicated the deal we have for GTOs with the National Trust in the UK – free entrance to NTS sites – some 88 properties and 76,000 hectares of countryside & gardens.  Further information click here