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British Guild of Travel Writers AGM destinations during the 2010s

Tenerife’s decision to host the 2016 AGM reflected on the productivity of Guild members following the 2010 event. The high volume of features and online articles written by members following our visit the island meant that Tenerife was keen to have us back just six years later.

In this post we’ll take a look at British Guild of Travel Writers AGM destinations during the 2010s.

Our final three AGMs of the decade were hosted by Reims (2017), the New Forest (2018) and Charleston (2019). You can read more about those in our overview of recent AGM destinations.

Attendance at the AGM

The annual event proves popular with members. On average, about a third of our total membership of 250 has attended each of the AGMs over the past 10 years.

Inevitably, a proportion of Guild members are unable to attend. As you’d expect, professional travel writers, photographers, bloggers and presenters are frequently underway on commissions. Others may be editing publications or working to book deadlines, so they are unable to leave their desks.

The highest attendance of any of the Annual General Meetings over the past decade was 121 members. That was for the 2011 event hosted by Oman.

Guild members dressed in overalls and safety helmets to enter Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow in Poland
Guild members dressed in overalls and safety helmets to enter Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow in Poland.

The 2016 AGM on Tenerife

Tenerife’s decision to host the 2016 AGM reflected on the productivity of Guild members following the 2010 event. The high volume of features and online articles written by members following our visit the island meant that Tenerife was keen to have us back just six years later.

Familiarisation trips showcased themes such as the traditional Canarian cuisine, the marine wildlife of the Atlantic plus the rugged beauty of Teide National Park.

Visiting San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, enabled our members to see the grid-plan city that provided the model for Spanish settlements in the Americas.

Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers with a guide at the Ni Fi Ni Fa carnival club headquarters in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Members of the British Guild of Travel Writers with a guide at the Ni Fi Ni Fa carnival club headquarters in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tenerife has twice counted among AGM destinations during the 2010s

The 2015 AGM in Milan, Italy

The Guild AGM wasn’t the biggest event to occur in Milan in 2015. Nor was either of the Milan Fashion Weeks. The city hosted Expo 2015, which attracted more than 22 million visitors. The theme of Expo 2015 was Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

The facade of Cremona Cathedral in Italy, one of the cities visited by Guild members in 2015
The facade of Cremona Cathedral in Italy, one of the cities visited by Guild members in 2015.

Travelling early in the year provided our members with opportunities to write features about Milan and other cities in Lombardy. It resulted in coverage in national newspapers, in-flight magazines and travel websites.

Attending an AGM gives Guild members insights into a location that they can draw on as a knowledge base for features and round-ups written years later.

A violin maker in Cremona explains his craft during a familiarisation trip after the 2015 AGM in Milan, Italy
A violin maker in Cremona explains his craft during a familiarisation trip after the 2015 AGM in Milan, Italy.

The 2014 AGM in Weimar, Germany

The 2014 AGM provided Guild members with an opportunity to explore Weimar and elsewhere in Thuringia. The familiarisation trips resulted in an array of destination features.

Weimar is a beautiful city. It was the location of an Enlightenment-era court that attracted some of Europe’s brightest minds, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. A statue of the two polymaths stands outside of the theatre in which representative of Germany’s National Assembly debated the country’s democratic constitution following World War One.

Travelling to Wartburg Castle, at Eisenach, members heard guides describe the role of Martin Luther in the Protestant Reformation. He translated the Bible’s New Testament into German at the castle.

The Bauhaus Museum Weimar was a finalist in the 2019 International Tourism Awards.

Facade of the Bauhaus Museum Weimar, designed by Heike Hanada, in Weimar, Germany
Facade of the Bauhaus Museum Weimar, designed by Heike Hanada, in Weimar, Germany.

The 2013 AGM in Zakopane, Poland

Zakopane is a popular Polish winter sports destination and a base for walking holidays at other times of year. The charming city is in the Tatras Mountains, where some of the Guild’s members skied after attending the AGM.

Sculptures by Mieczyslaw Kluzek and Antoni Cholewa in Wieliczka Salt Mine near Kraków, Poland
Sculptures by Mieczyslaw Kluzek and Antoni Cholewa in Wieliczka Salt Mine near Kraków, Poland.

Krakow proved to point of arrival into Poland for most AGM attendees. In addition to exploring the historic city centre, Guild members travelled to the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine plus the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

Presentation during the 2013 AGM in Poland.
Presentation during the 2013 AGM in Poland.

The 2012 AGM in Le Touquet, France

Tourism played a key role in the evolution of the town of Le Touquet on the north coast of France. Members delved into that history during a tour of places of interest in the seaside destination.

The Blockhaus d'Éperlecques, a World War Two bunker in northern France
The Blockhaus d’Éperlecques, a World War Two bunker in northern France.

The AGM meeting was held at Boulogne-sur-Mer, in the conference room at Nausicaá, Europe’s largest aquarium.

Afterwards, Guild members had a choice of familiarisation trips in the Pas de Calais region. Some of those explored the legacy of the two world wars.

Sign for Dunkerque (Dunkirk) in northern France
Sign for Dunkerque (Dunkirk) in northern France.

The 2011 AGM in Muscat, Oman

The 2011 AGM was held at the newly opened Millennium Resort Mussanah, an hour’s drive west of Muscat, the Omani capital.

Boats at the Millennium Hotel at Mussanah in Oman, a venue for the Asian Beach Games of 2010
Boats at the Millennium Hotel at Mussanah in Oman, a venue for the Asian Beach Games of 2010.

Familiarisation trips resulted in members being distributed across Oman in small groups, meaning coverage of an array of themes and destinations.

Features written by Guild members covered topics ranging from the aflaj irrigation system to the reports about the top attractions in Muscat.

Koranic inscriptions and the minaret of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman
Beautiful architecture. Koranic inscriptions and the minaret of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman.

Future AGMs

If you work for a tourism board or PR company and are interested in hosting a Guild AGM please get in touch for further details.

Stuart Forster

Author: Stuart Forster