GLTS 2017

We take a look back at some of the best moments of 2017 for the team at Group Leisure & Travel magazine.

It’s been yet another fantastic year for Group Leisure & Travel and as the year comes to a close (yes already!) we round up some of our highlights and look forward to all that is to come for 2018.

Our Group Leisure & Travel Awards were once again a massive hit, celebrating the best in the industry and those who go that extra mile to provide high quality travel experiences for groups. We certainly enjoyed the ceremony and hope you did too.

Pictured: Rob Yandell with Harold Burke and Ben Hanlin.

One of the most memorable moments at the awards dinner was celebrity magician Ben Hanlin performing a range of incredible tricks, with audience participation that had everyone in stitches. Not to mention him co-presenting the awards alongside Group Leisure & Travel’s publisher, Rob Yandell.

Arguably the most heartfelt moment was when we presented a special award for an Outstanding Contribution to Group Travel to Harold Burke, sales director of the Norwich-based The UK Holiday Group Ltd (which includes just for groups! Grand UK, Sunrise Direct and Glenton Holidays, who was totally shocked and surprised. And of course, our GTO of the Year, Marian Durbidge from Herts Theatre Club and Go Travel Club, and The Excellence Award winner, Travelsphere’s Glen Thomas, picking up their awards is another moment to remember. Congratulations to all. 

Nicholas Owen

Pictured: Nicholas Owen.

The Group Leisure & Travel Show went down a treat and saw visitors from across the country meet with exhibitors, watch guest speakers and catch up with fellow GTOs. There were so many highlights of the show, from guest speakers - news broadcaster Nicholas Owen, historian Dan Cruickshank, travel writer Simon Calder and TV presenter Chris Beardshaw giving excellent speeches about their expertise - to Switzerland Travel Centre’s Hugo the dog, and the bacon butties that were enjoyed by many. The mocktails on the Group Leisure & Travel stand were very tasty too. Were you at the show? If so, tell us what your favourite part was by emailing

This year has also seen some great Reader Club trips. The first of the year took GLT’s Rachel and Laura to Melton Mowbray for two days with a group of GTOs. Highlights included a tour of Belvoir Brewery, a visit to Belvoir Castle and a demonstration at the Melton Cheeseboard. Other trips in 2017 included a visit to Castle Howard and York Minster, Woburn Abbey and Bletchley Park and RHS Wisely where GLT’s Keeley and Rachel enjoyed the gardens and afternoon tea whilst catching up with group organisers who were keen to return. 

Woburn Abbey

Pictured: Reader Club trip to Woburn Abbey.

We’ve shared some great interviews with West End cast members too, from comedian Rufus Hound, who starred in The Wind in the Willows, to Leonard Cook from The Play That Goes Wrong, to Lucy St Louis from Motown The Musical. 

Then there’s the various exciting trips the team have been invited to, such as Newmarket to see the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, The London Bridge Experience and London Tombs, as well as Longleat’s Festival of Light, to name a few.

And there’s no forgetting our new name and the amazing new look we gave the magazine back in June. The team has been working very hard to provide quality content in each edition and we hope that you are all enjoying reading it. 

Along with a new look, Group Leisure & Travel we also gained a new editor.  We said farewell to Sarah Holt, who left to travel the globe and welcomed Keeley Rodgers to the team.

To round up the year, she said: “What an incredible six months it has been in my time at the helm of Group Leisure & Travel. There have been too many highlights to mention but I have met some fantastic people, who are a credit to the group travel industry, and visited some amazing places. I’m looking forward to meeting more of you in 2018, travelling to even more destinations and growing Group Leisure & Travel magazine, its sister publications and hugely successful events.”