British Tourism & Travel Show confirms line-up for 2018

British Tourism & Travel Show confirms line-up for 2018

The largest tourism event for the UK and Ireland's travel trade opens at the NEC next week

Encore Tickets founder and CTA's chairman John Wales, Visit Heritage's founder Sarah Greenwood, and transport and travel consultant Allan Edmondson, are set to appear in The Tourism Society's annual Question Time panel discussion at British Tourism & Travel Show 2018.

The largest domestic tourism showcase of the year returns to the NEC Birmingham next week on 21-22 March, and is expected to welcome over 2,600 attendees, including some of the UK and Ireland's biggest domestic tour operators, coach operators, and travel organisers.

The Tourism Question Time session will take place at 2.15pm on Wednesday 21 March, with a lively debate into the future of the domestic tourism sector - chaired by Bernard Donoghue, chairman of the Tourism Alliance and director of Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA). As in previous years, Donoghue will be inviting questions from the audience to put to the panel. Topics are likely to include Brexit, safety and security, customer experience, and general domestic tourism trends.

Discovering the latest group packages, tours and incentives from over 270 visitor attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs (from across the UK and Ireland) is just part of the British Tourism & Travel Show's long-standing appeal. Visitors also benefit from expert insights, strategies and ideas (that can help their travel companies) from a host of senior industry figures in the show's free-to-attend Keynote programme.

Previously confirmed sessions include: Angela Rippon CBE; Google's industry head of travel, Ruairidh Robert; Justin East, director of innovation at Merlin Entertainments; Max Sinclair, founder of EcoCompanion; and Andy Headington, CEO of Adido.

The show will also see the return of the AGTO's (The Association of Group Travel Organisers) 'Question Time: The Changing Face of Group Travel'. Taking place on Thursday 22 March at 11.30am, this lively session, exclusively for group travel organisers, will be facilitated by AGTO's CEO Wendy Hartley-Scarff. Tricia Regan (South Quay Travel), Luke Golding (Travlaw LLP), Steve Reed (Steve Reed Tourism), and Julia Passmore (GTO Association of Friends) are among the panellists sharing their thoughts around the current issues and challenges facing group travel organisers today.

Conquering Social media: Do's and Don'ts

Kicking off the Keynote line-up, Jody Farrer, VP of marketing at Chute, will be offering visitors tips about how to use social media for their travel businesses on Wednesday 21 March at 10.30am. In her Keynote session titled 'Conquering Social Media: Do's and Don'ts' Farrer will advise on how to get the most out of platforms like Instagram and Twitter and will cover topics such as publication tools (Hootsuite, Buffer), how to employ user generated content (UGC), follower engagement, and examples of social media best practices.

Making the right choice

Andy Woodward, an award-winning tourism professional from MTMI - Quality in Tourism will be delivering a session at 2.15pm on Thursday 22 March about finding the right attraction or hotel for group organisers. He'll be considering how quality assessments and star ratings work hand in hand with on-line reputation and hotel websites to ensure that visitors maximise credibility and minimise risk in selecting the best solution available.

Keynote line-up (in running order)

Wednesday 21 March

Conquering Social Media: Do's and Don'ts: Jody Farrer, Chute
Fun = future 2: Justin East, Merlin Entertainments
Priorities for digital marketeers in Tourism today: Ruairidh Roberts, Google
Tourism Question Time: Chaired by Bernard Donoghue, ALVA
Is Ecotourism right for the UK? Max Sinclair, EcoCompanion

Thursday 22 March

Bytes, bad weather or Brexit? What will affect UK tourism most in the next five years? Andy Headington, Adido
Question Time - The Changing Face of Group Travel: Chaired by Wendy Hartley-Scarff, AGTO
Around the World in 50 Years with Angela Rippon CBE
Making the right choice: Andy Woodward, MTMI Quality in Tourism

"Our tourism in this country is extraordinary - we've got an amazing industry, with millions of visitors coming over to visit Britain. We have a lot to showcase and a lot to sell, and this is what today [at British Tourism & Travel Show] is all about. We have brilliant leaders in this industry who are doing a great job," says Adam Henson from Countryfile (and previous Keynote speaker).

British Tourism & Travel Show returns to NEC Birmingham on 21-22 March 2018. For further information and to register, please visit

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