This weekend was the inaugural event of the New Meridian Association in Bournemouth, Dorset. The Association was launched just 7 weeks ago, and brings together Group Travel Organisers (GTO’s) with their business partners who can supply with the organisers with everything from Long haul bucket list group holidays to UK and continental coach holidays as well as tourist attractions, insurance providers etc. Their mission is to bring group organisers together with business partners, take the group organisers on fam trips with the support of business partners, provide networking opportunities and represent the needs of group organisers.
The weekend commenced on Friday afternoon, with a welcome cuppa and biscuits in the ballroom at the Oceana Cumberland. It was the most beautiful sunny day to see our arrival, where we were met by Sylvia Saxon, the chairperson of the association as well as other members of the committee. We were also joined by Melissa and her colleague from Bournemouth Tourism, who escorted us in two groups along the East Cliff and into the Russell Cotes Museum and Art Gallery.
At 6pm we were all collected in one of the open top double-decker sightseeing buses, and went on a tour of Bournemouth and Poole, as the sun went down. It was very informative if a little chilly for those up top! We disembarked at Poole Quay, and were met by Granny Cousins and Red, who took us all on a “potted version” of the Poole Ghost Walk, regaling stories and even a song of old, about the smugglers, history and ghosts that still linger around Poole Quay.
I think the best surprise of the evening was being met by the Meridian Brass Band, a youth band, that played us onto the City Cruises “Solent Scene” boat for a fish and chip supper with lashings of bubbly and a disco, which was a great way to break the ice and get everyone mingling.
We all enjoyed an early breakfast on Saturday and boarded a Coliseum Coach with driver Simon, and made our way to Poole Quay. Our day was a busy one! We visited the following attractions, and I will write individual posts about each one, so I can do them justice:
- Poole Pottery, with a demonstration by their master potter
- Coffee stop at Quayside Emporium
- Guided tour of the RNLI College including the lifeboat simulator
- Swanage Steam Railway
- The Tank Museum at Bovington
We spent the evening with an events company, who had designed a cocktail called “New Meridian”, which I must say was very tasty! We enjoyed a Gala Dinner and live entertainment from a singer called Diane James.
Sunday morning following breakfast, the formalities commenced with a meeting where we were given the association’s constitution, and several people spoke to promote various events and generally thank the committee and the sponsors for a great weekend. I must say I concur!
If the association can keep up its momentum and its cheerful disposition, then the future looks very bright for the newest Group Travel Association.