Gina Savill-Turner, Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association, was “blown away” by a trip to Ely in Cambridgeshire, which came from a meeting at the Group Leisure & Travel Show in Milton Keynes.

Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association outside a coach in Ely

Gina Savill-Turner (second left) said the GLT Show is “absolutely invaluable” for GTOs.

She’s had trouble in the past contacting tourist boards for help putting a coach trip together and said being able to meet Visit Ely at the exhibition in 2022 was a “breath of fresh air”.

Gina explained: “Anna Bennett and her colleagues at Visit Ely really sold the city to me and completely restored my faith in tourist boards because I felt like I had been banging my head against a brick wall.

“Going to the Group Leisure & Travel Show is absolutely invaluable. I had heard of Ely but had no idea what groups could do there, and if I hadn’t met the team at the show, I probably wouldn’t have taken the risk with a trip.”

“Exhibiting at the Group Leisure & Travel Show gives us an opportunity to meet quality group organisers.”

Anna Bennet, tourism and town centre manager at Visit Ely

The group enjoyed visiting the cathedral and the city’s shopping areas, but the highlight was the annual Eel Festival which celebrates its namesake.

Ely Cathedral on a summer's day

The group enjoyed spending time at Ely’s magnificent cathedral.

Gina, who will be visiting the 2023 GLT Show on 5th October in Milton Keynes, continued: “Every day you learn something new because I had no idea the city was named after eels.

“I was blown away by the festival. I expected something similar to a village fete but there was music, dance displays, a military band and so many food stalls all set along the riverside. There really was something for all age groups and the sunshine was the icing on the cake.

Anna Bennett, tourism and town centre manager at Visit Ely, who helped create the experience for Gina and her members, said: “Exhibiting at the Group Leisure & Travel Show gives us an opportunity to meet quality group organisers and really upsell our city directly to them. It’s so much easier to do this face-to-face and build those initial relationships.”

Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association group members in Ely

Members of the group were pleasantly surprised at how much Ely had to offer.

“We absolutely love working with groups and meeting them at the show,” said Anna who will be on the Visit Ely stand once again at the 2023 GLT Show. “We want to give groups a one-stop shop and work out their schedule for them to make their life as easy as possible.”

Gina added: “I would tell other tourist boards that were thinking about exhibiting to go along and embrace their town or city and really sell it to us because we’re all looking for new places to go.

“My trips have been inundated this year with people desperate to get out and about. I can’t give my group the correct information by talking to someone over the phone. I need to go somewhere and speak to someone face-to-face to receive that personal touch.”

Register to visit this year’s Group Leisure & Travel Show on 5th October, 2023, at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes at:

For exhibiting queries, contact Sharon Yandell on 01908 613323 or email