British Tourism & Travel Show unveils full 2016 seminar line-up


BIRMINGHAM, England – Simon Weston CBE, The Tourism Society, ETOA, Hudson’s and The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK are to host seminars at next month’s British Tourism & Travel Show, which returns to the NEC Birmingham on the 16-17 March.

The event’s extensive free seminar line-up 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 former MP and cabinet minister Michael Portillo and Countryfile presenter Adam Henson.

Charity campaigner and British Army veteran, Simon Weston CBE will be putting the spotlight on accessible travel in his opening day Keynote on Wednesday 16 March. He’ll be talking about his life story and how one defining moment, when he was 20, serving with the Welsh Guards in the Falklands, set him on a new path. Today his positive mental attitude has allowed him to achieve his goals as a businessman, writer and broadcaster, however his physical disabilities still present challenges, especially when travelling. His frustrations with finding accurate and reliable travel information led him to become a director of Zappawoo – a new, online, accessible travel retailer with a difference.

Opening day seminar highlights also include The Tourism Society’s annual question time panel discussion – kicking off the programme with a lively debate into the future of domestic tourism. Anthony Rawlins, founder of Bristol-based digital agency Digital Visitor, takes a compelling look at how cutting-edge social media targeting can improve the outcomes of digital marketing campaigns for tour operators, destinations and attractions alike. Whilst Alf Scrimgour, the CPT’s operations & tourism executive, explains who’s who in the coach industry and offers expert advice on how to book the right operator for group tours.

Hudson’s new panel session for 2016, opening the show’s second day of seminars (Thursday 17 March), sets its sights on the lucrative heritage tourism market. It will feature representatives from a wide range of heritage attractions (from city to country-based, large and small) plus leading industry experts examining the question ‘what makes a good heritage visit?’.

Also appearing on day two: Nick Greenfield, head of tour operator relations at ETOA – the European tourism association, gives his assessment on the growing trend for ‘experiential travel’, focussing on how operators and destinations are responding to the demand for more immersive travel experiences. And walking expert Andrew White explores opportunities for Walks Around Britain and Ireland – catering to the millions of leisure walkers that enjoy 2-8 mile routes that can done within a day.

The envy of the world…

From its vibrant cities and historic towns to beautiful countryside and rugged coastlines, the UK’s tourism product is “the envy of the world”, says Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA. Speaking at last year’s show, he cited the importance of providing today’s tourists with “value for money and value of experience.” And British Tourism & Travel Show’s eclectic menu of exhibitors – including over 250 leading attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs – certainly offers its 3,000+ visitors plenty of choice for their customers.

Among them are Best Western Hotels, Black Country Living Museum, Brighton i360, Chelsea Football Club, DFDS Seaways, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, Hilton Worldwide, Knowsley Safari Park, Marketing Liverpool, Marriott Hotels, National Brewery Centre, National Memorial Arboretum, Shakespeare’s England, The Yorkshire Makers, Miners and Money group, Wales’ World Heritage Sites, Snowdonia National Park Centre, The Hotel Collection, Ticketmaster, The National Trust for Scotland, Tourism Ireland, Visit England, Visit Scotland, and Visit Wales.