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2017 British Tourism & Travel Show: Big names discussing key issues

TripAdvisor, Euromonitor International, Travel GBI, Hudson’s Heritage, and The Association of Group Travel Organizers (AGTO) are to host seminars at this month’s British Tourism & Travel Show, whi

TripAdvisor, Euromonitor International, Travel GBI, Hudson’s Heritage, and The Association of Group Travel Organizers (AGTO) are to host seminars at this month’s British Tourism & Travel Show, which returns to the NEC Birmingham on the 22-23 March.

The event’s extensive free Keynote program is renowned for attracting ‘inspirational’ big names discussing the key issues, opportunities and hot topics facing the domestic tourism sector today. Previously confirmed speakers include author and zookeeper Benjamin Mee (opening day), TV presenter Julia Bradbury, and Travelzoo’s UK MD Joel Brandon-Bravo (both on the show’s second day).

TripAdvisor’s Leanne Thompson (key accounts, UK) will be hosting a session on the first day (Wednesday 22 March) discussing ‘The Evolution of TripAdvisor’. Here she’ll be sharing how the ‘world’s largest travel site’ has continually evolved its product offering, whilst always keeping the consumer experience at its core. She’ll also be taking a look at some key current market trends, and how these are influencing the travel industry in the year ahead.

Opening day highlights also include Travel GBI’s panel debate, facilitated by editor George Clode – kicking off the programme with a discussion on current trends in the domestic tourism industry. The show will also see the return of The Tourism Society’s annual question time panel discussion. Chaired by ALVA director Bernard Donoghue FTS, the panel will feature representatives from VisitScotland, the Welsh Assembly, Tourism Ireland, and VisitBritain – providing a lively debate around the future of the domestic tourism industry.

With Brexit also high on the agenda for all businesses, Alexander Göransson, lead analyst at Euromonitor International, will be taking a look at ‘overcoming disruption in UK travel.’ He’ll be covering all forms of disruption, not only from the fallout of Brexit, but also by factors such as technology with mobile sales rising, and changing demographics, and what the travel industry can do in order to overcome this.

The Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO) will be opening day two’s Keynotes (Thursday 23 March) with a session exclusively for group travel organisers. The session, facilitated by Mike Bugsgang – chief executive AGTO (chair), will include a panel of GTOs and suppliers who will be sharing their thoughts around the current issues and challenges facing organisers. Topics are likely to include the type of family trips that are most beneficial, attracting new organisers in to the sector, coach parking in city centres, charging for museum entry, legislation impacting GTOs, hotel prices, 2018 events, new itinerary ideas, and using social media for marketing.

In the last session of the show, Hudson Heritage’s panel sets its sights on why hosting a film shoot can bring a whole new approach for visitors and groups. Facilitated by Sarah Greenwood, publisher of Hudson’s Historic Houses & Gardens, it will feature a panel of top tourism and heritage professionals, including Harvey Edgington, National Trust Location Unit (Wolf Hall), Heather Carter, Blenheim Palace (The BFG) and Caroline Lowsley-Williams, Chavenage (Poldark).