2022: report on our first ‘post-plague’ tours
Our first full season during and after the lifting of pandemic restrictions was always going to be challenging, and many ensembles committed relatively late. Here are our “take-aways”:
- Numbers. We operated 56 tours to 18 countries (including Israel and Jordan). A total of 2,790 performers appeared in 251 successful concerts
- Audiences were understandably smaller earlier in the year but, by summer, we had exceptionally good attendances everywhere, largely thanks to the hard work of our local network of exclusive representatives.
- Some suppliers were having staff shortage problems; this was certainly not confined to the UK. Fortunately our good relationships with suppliers mitigated the effect of this but we cannot yet expect service levels everywhere to be as they were pre-pandemic
- Red tape and bureaucracy issues for British groups that were a major headache immediately post-Brexit are easing, fortunately. Groups touring by bus only suffered minimal delays at channel ports.
2023: planning tours in the ‘new normal’!
- Currency. The current widely publicised weakness of the UK pound sterling means that even more thought and care has to go into tour planning. Some destination countries, and some cities within them, offer far better value for money at the moment than others.
- Flight costs. With higher fuel costs and reduced capacity, obtaining competitive airfare quotes is becoming more challenging, especially for departures at the start of school holidays. The earlier one starts booking, the better! Airlines generally start quoting 11 months prior to departure. Waiting until autumn for a spring tour the following year can cause fare quotes to rise substantially. Having our own group flights department makes such negotiations much easier, and can help lower prices.
- Long haul. We are beginning to see the restart of requests for tours to long haul destinations. South Africa, India and Australia offer exceptional touring opportunities, and we are very keen to restart our outreach work in the first two of those countries – we have exceptional memories of sharing music-making with underprivileged children in Mumbai, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
- What our clients say about us. Rather than blow our own trumpet, below are some comments from our 2022 postbag. Please contact any of our clients for their “take” on touring with us.
2023 planning is now well underway for many of our clients to short haul destinations and further afield. Spain, Germany, France and Slovenia are all proving particularly popular. We look forward to hearing from you very soon!
What our clients say
After experiencing many others, I can safely say that ACFEA are the Rolls-Royce of tour companies and will most certainly be working with them for all future Gloucestershire tours.
Having travelled to four continents with ACFEA, there is simply no one else I would even think about travelling with.
It makes a huge difference to know that ACFEA takes on board every comment and question and discuss things in detail with us, it is very reassuring
The concerts in particular were amazing – the audiences gave us a wonderful reception.
We know that we made the best decision in choosing ACFEA and we are already thinking about our next tour. Thank you for everything you have done to make this possible for us.