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08/02/2016 | Bowls
Late in 2012 I received an extremely exciting phone call. Adie Lloyd had been elected to the post of Junior Vice-President of Bowls England, was wanting to plan an overseas Presidential tour for 2014, and was contacting Personal Touch Holidays to discuss the planning of it on the advice of a friend.
Wonderful! We had never had the opportunity to quote for a Bowls England Presidential tour before, and Adie came across over the phone as both an extremely warm and enthusiastic person with whom it promised to be total delight to work.
For a number of years, their overseas Presidential tours had focused on far flung and exotic bowls destinations. Adie hadn’t travelled to many of the well-known overseas bowls destinations nearer to home, and was also concerned that his tour should be more affordable than some of those that he was familiar with from the recent past. I was asked therefore to plan for a tour of Spain and Portugal.
I couldn’t have been more delighted. We had operated bowls tours to the southern coasts of Spain and Portugal for many years, but until this point had not been afforded the opportunity to share with our clients the wonderfully rich and fascinating interiors of the two countries. Most club tours that we provide comprise four matches over the course of a week with a little light exploration of a chosen resort’s hinterland as either an included or optional feature. Adie was looking for a two to three week duration that would incorporate a number of ‘must-see’ tourism highlights within its itinerary. Having worked as a tour guide all over Spain and Portugal I relished the prospect of sharing my love of these two special countries with a large party of tourists celebrating Adie’s special year.
In addition to bowls matches both on the Costa del Sol and in the Algarve I also suggested appropriate hotels for such a celebratory event, additional hotel stays in Seville and Lisbon, and a full day excursion to Granada. We then met up for a long lunch in order to discuss the detail of the tour and I had the pleasure of getting to know Kath, Adie’s wife.
The finalized itinerary, when drawn up, offered six bowls matches with lunch included, half board with wine throughout, drinks receptions in the Costa del Sol and Lisbon, a number of fascinating included and fully guided tours, big nights out in both Seville and Lisbon, and a price tag that offered wonderful value for money, coming in significantly cheaper than many previous President’s tours, with much more included in terms of meals, drinks, and tour content.
When it went on sale Adie and I were both delighted with the results, with a party of well over 80 people eventually opting to take the trip.
Technically quite complex, with two bowls matches taking place on the same day on six occasions, two coaches, two Personal Touch team members, and on occasions two professional guides, the tour was to operate extremely smoothly and be blessed with extremely good weather.
Anxious to put in an appearance, I flew out to join the party for the final three nights of the tour in Lisbon, and encountered everyone in exceptionally good spirits. It was an absolute joy to see the planning of the previous year, allied to the performance of our team both in the UK and on tour with Adie, producing such memorable results. It was equally hugely rewarding to see how much Adie himself was enjoying the experience, and to be able to spend time with members of his tour party.
As a memento of their trip Adie presented all the male tourists with small twin bottles of Port wine, the lady tourists each receiving an attractive Spanish fan. From our side, we at Personal Touch Holidays hired a professional photographer and presented everyone with a photograph of the entire party posing against the attractive backdrop of one of Lisbon’s major tourist attractions, its spectacular Jeronimos Monastery (illustrated above).
As predicated, both Adie and his wife proved an absolute delight to work with, and were excellent tour party hosts, ensuring that everyone felt involved at all times. Our very first Bowls England Presidents tour will provide me, and many others I'm sure, with very many happy memories for many years to come.
There is no more fulfilling satisfaction in tourism than to have facilitated such an enjoyable and successful event.
30/08/2018 - Jonathan Plumridge of Personal Touch Holidays describes the evolution of bowling in Spain
06/08/2018 - Jonathan Plumridge describes a wonderful new holiday opportunity on a coastline close to Seville
31/05/2018 - I’m delighted to announce that Personal Touch Holidays has been shortlisted for a brand new national travel award, the Classic FM i-Award.
18/09/2017 - Personal Touch Holidays sponsors a new national bowls competition in memory of its founder Sharon Smith.
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08/02/2016 - The story behind our very first Bowls England overseas President's tour, hosted by the 2014 Bowls England President, Adie Lloyd.
08/02/2016 - Jonathan reports back from the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Graham & Sylvia Barrett sequence dance holiday in Paphos
02/10/2015 - Jonathan Plumridge, of Personal Touch Holidays, profiles a new destination for overseas bowls tours – Menorca.
02/10/2015 - Jonathan Plumridge, of Personal Touch Holidays, describes a sure-fire formula for bowls holiday success.
02/10/2015 - Jonathan Plumridge, of Personal Touch Holidays, describes a highly attractive new bowls tour option in the Portuguese Algarve.
02/10/2015 - Jonathan Plumridge of Personal Touch Holidays pays tribute to Sharon Smith, his wife and the much-loved founder of Personal Touch Holidays