British Tourism & Travel Show – the leading annual event for the UK and Ireland’s multi-billion pound domestic tourism industry – is expected to attract thousands of tour operators, travel organisers and agencies when it opens at the NEC Birmingham this week, on 22-23 March.
“We’ve got over 60 new exhibitors at the show for 2017, as diverse as the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the Emmerdale Tour, Destination Film, and the World of Beatrix Potter,” says British Tourism & Travel Show’s group event director David Maguire.
“We’ve also revamped the Meeting Planner, enabling visitors to plan their time more effectively. We’ve listened to the feedback and made some big investments to make it the most up-to-date and slickest meeting planner you can have.
“The show’s Keynote Theatre is always a big draw and we’ve got some really strong speakers again this year – from Julia Bradbury and Benjamin Mee to TripAdvisor and Travelzoo, which is already generating such a buzz. Plus, of course, unmissable panel discussions hosted by The Tourism Society, TravelGBI, The Association of Group Travel Organisers and Hudson’s Heritage.
“We’ve got the biggest number of exhibitors, the most visitors, and we are the only two-day event dedicated to domestic tourism. The stage is set for another fantastic event, which unites the whole industry. We can’t wait to welcome everyone to the show this week,” he says.
Big name Keynotes
This year’s extensive free seminar line-up features a host of big name speakers discussing the key issues, opportunities and hot topics facing the domestic tourism sector today.
Wednesday 22 March
• TravelGBI’s panel discussion: featuring George Clode, editor of TravelGBI; Tina Price, TP Tourism Consultants; Chris Coillet, Rabbies Tours; & Helena Beard, China Travel Outbound
• The evolution of TripAdvisor: Leanne Thompson, UK key account manager at TripAdvisor
• Overcoming the unforeseen: Benjamin Mee – inspiration for the Hollywood film We Bought a Zoo, author and zookeeper at Dartmoor Zoo
• The Tourism Society’s Question Time panel: featuring Bernard Donoghue FTS, director of Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA); Manon Antoniazzi, director of culture, sport and tourism at the Welsh Government; Lynne Raeside, head of business affairs at VisitScotland; Peter Nash, head of strategy development & insights at Tourism Ireland; & Anthony Pickles, head of tourism affairs at VisitBritain
• Overcoming the disruption in UK travel: Alexander Göransson, lead analyst – services & payments at Euromonitor International
Thursday 23 March
• The Association of Group Travel Organisers Question Time panel – the changing face of group travel: featuring Mike Bugsgang, chief executive of AGTO, group travel organiser Yasmin Choudhury; Siobhan Harrison, travel trade manager at English Heritage; Pauline Johnson, group travel organiser and Chair of AGTO Central Branch; & Sam Sciortino, commercial team leader of Towergate Insurance
• Right package, right deal, right person, right time: Joel Brandon-Bravo, UK MD of Travelzoo
• TV presenter Julia Bradbury
• Hudson’s Heritage panel – get in the frame: featuring Sarah Greenwood, publisher of Hudson’s Historic Houses & Gardens; Harvey Edgington, National Trust Location Unit (BBC’s Wolf Hall); Heather Carter, Blenheim Palace (The BFG), Jacqueline Baird, NT Castle Ward in Northern Ireland (HBO’s Game of Thrones); Caroline Lowsley-Williams, Chavenage (BBC’s Poldark); and Daniel Watkins, Alnwick Castle (Harry Potter films and ITV’s Downton Abbey)
“When I’m filming, I try and see travel from the viewer’s perspective – the customer in your business, so I hope the audience is entertained by some of the stories about how telly works, and some of the quirky things that can happen on location,” says Julia Bradbury, speaking ahead of her session. “I’m going to be talking about my travels around the world, how I got into TV, and my first big break. But my main focus will be the UK and the incredibly diverse and beautiful landscapes we have on our doorstep.”
Over 260 exhibitors
From its vibrant cities and historic towns to beautiful countryside and rugged coastlines, the UK and Ireland’s tourism product has been called ‘the envy of the world’. And British Tourism & Travel Show’s eclectic menu of exhibitors for 2017 – including over 260 leading visitor attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs showcasing the best of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – certainly offers plenty of choice.
“British Tourism & Travel Show is the only place where you can explore all that the UK and Ireland has to offer in one place. The atmosphere is great and we can really do business here,” says Hudson’s director Sarah Greenwood.