Our History - The Beginning of Go West
Go West started operations in 1990, and was established as an incoming B2B business handling visitors from the new markets of Central and Eastern Europe into the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was set up by Phil and Moya Caldwell, both of whom had spent much of the ‘80s working for a large British outbound tour operator. Central and Eastern Europe has remained at the heart of the company’s activities ever since, although Go West now welcomes visitors from all over the world to a variety of European countries, and from markets as diverse as Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia, The Philippines and a whole host more.
The Early Years
From the outset Go West positioned itself principally as a Groups ground-handler/tour operator, and as early as 1992 a growing number of leisure groups was being supplemented by business and corporate visitors such as bankers and farmers. Youth groups also developed quickly into a major source of business with the company’s product range embracing language courses and ‘Homestays’, as well as budget offerings for leisure travellers such as ‘Mobile Homes’.
During the ‘90’s Go West ‘Study Tours’ became legendary, and today many of our partners abroad benefitted from these valuable early introductions to ‘new’ areas of the UK, often run in conjunction with The British Tourist Authority (now Visit Britain) and British Airways. Indeed, scrolling onto 2005 Go West had the privilege of hosting the first ever study tour for Chinese Outbound Tour Operators when 22 market leaders from China came to see what the UK had to offer. In 2010 we also arranged a tour of Ireland for Brazil’s leading operators in conjunction with Tourism Ireland. Being pro-active in educating new markets in the many world-beating features of Britain and Ireland has been a constant thread throughout our existence.
Go West & Britain's Great Events
We have also been heavily involved in arguably the two largest events the UK has hosted in recent times. In 1996 we looked after and made arrangements for thousands of fans and media visiting the Euro ’96 football championships (and indeed Football has developed into a core product), and in 2012 once again we welcomed thousands of visitors to ‘the greatest show on earth’ – the London 2012 Olympics – with Go West providing accommodation, transportation, ancillary services and logistical support to our overseas partners.
Into the 21st Century
This century has witnessed a rapid expansion of markets in which we are active, and we now have partners in more than 40 countries worldwide. We have taken our brand into Brazil, Australia and the nations of South East and North East Asia, and many others, underpinned by a philosophy of being extremely competitive, very innovative (for example through our 'Europe with a Difference' brand, helping our partners build wow factor and originality into their European programmes) and totally service-led.
Growing New Markets
Our partnerships have taken us into certain specialisations, for example in the Muslim market and in Pilgrimages of all types, our presence in the MICE market has continued to grow and we are regarded in our markets as a top DMC. Sports Tours, not least due to the ever increasing attraction of the English Premier League and of high-quality golf experiences throughout Europe, have also gone from strength to strength, as have 'themed' trips such as Harry Potter, film and literature related programmes and history tours.
Still Ensuring Maximum Satisfaction Today
In recent years we have handled a growing number of leisure series, helping our partners find new ways of offering Europe at the sort of low prices which enable them to carry thousands of clients a year to Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the UK. But at the heart of Go West's philosophy has been - and always will be - the essential need to leave our partners and their clients with a lasting positive impression of their time with us, be that on a city stay in London, Paris, Rome or Prague, or a ten day tour of the Balkans, or on an exclusive golfing holiday staying in a 5 star hotel or a castle in Scotland.
You are Our History Too.............
Thank you for being part of our history so far, and we hope very much you will be part of our future too.