Major tourism conference unveils more speakers

Experts in city festivals, aviation, law and destination marketing have joined the line-up of speakers at the Future Global Opportunities for UK Tourism conference (June 28).

The conference is part of the International Business Festival, being held at ACC Liverpool.

Newly announced speakers include James McVeigh, head of innovation and marketing at Festivals Edinburgh, who will discuss brand loyalty and how to keep a destination ‘front of mind’.

Independent air transport consultant John Strickland will chair a debate called The Sky’s The Limit, discussing regional airports and airlines.

The session will feature John Irving, chief executive of Liverpool Airport; James Ager, strategy director at Manchester Airport Group; Kate Sherry, deputy director of route development at Ryanair; and Ali Gayward, UK country manager at easyJet.

The conference will also hear from Rhys Griffiths – partner and head of travel group at award-winning European law firm Fieldfisher – as he explores new business models.

A New World Tourism Order panel will feature Anthony Pickles, head of tourism affairs, VisitBritain and VisitEngland; Deirdre Wells, chief executive of UKinbound; and Chris Brown, director at Marketing Liverpool.

Other speakers already confirmed include Jon Young, research director at BDRC; Katie King, managing director at Zoodikers; and Jennifer Cormack, sales and marketing director at Lake Windermere Cruises.

The conference will end with a keynote address on the festival’s Futures Stage by Cherie Blair, who will be highlighting ‘The Importance of People in a Globalised Economy’.

The conference will be chaired by Sky presenter, reporter and producer Hayley McQueen.

Simon Greenbury (pictured), director at conference organiser Cheeky Monkey, said: “This conference is a first for the three-week festival – the first time the tourism and travel sector has featured in the core of the festival.

“The programme’s prime objective is to look to the future; one that can help define a blueprint for how the industry grows and develops.

“With top speakers and panellists, I guarantee that delegates will come away having been engaged, challenged and had their minds open to new ways of thinking.”

The cost of the conference is £249 + VAT, which includes admission to all the days of the festival, which runs from June 12-28 (excludes other paid-for festival hosted events).

The conference has support from the industry including UKinbound, VisitBritain, VisitEngland, Visit Wales, British Airways, Marketing Liverpool, Visit Heritage, Windermere Lake Cruises, Marketing Cheshire, Hudsons, Signpost, the Association of Group Travel Organisers, The Tourism Society, Tourism Alliance, Lake District China Forum, Coach Tourism Association, Coach Buddy and Theatre of Meetings. TravelGBI is the media partner.