Issued by: Make It York

Issue Date: 16th December 2021

Visit York Tourism Conference 2022 goes virtual

Due to the ongoing uncertainty around Covid-19, Make It York have made the decision to move the Visit York Tourism Conference to an online event. Scheduled to take place at York Racecourse on 13th January, delegates will now be invited to hear from keynote speakers online from 09.30 – 11.30am.

The line-up of expert tourism speakers will remain the same for the online event, and will be compered by BBC Look North & BBC Radio York Presenter Clare Frisby. Speakers include: Signe Jungersted and Peter Rømer Hansen, Founding Partners of Group NAO; Richard Nicholls, Head of Research and Forecasting at VisitBritain; and Aileen Crawford, Head of Tourism & Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau – with a welcome from Sarah Loftus, the newly appointed Managing Director of Make It York. A panel of tourism businesses including Abbi Ollive, Head of Marketing and Sales at Castle Howard; Andrew Lowson, Executive Director at York BID; Rebecca Hill, Managing Director at Galtres Lodge; and a guest speaker from LNER will also share their vision for the visitor economy and how we take a more holistic approach to York as a destination.

Keynote speakers Signe Jungersted and Peter Rømer Hansen from Group NAO have put together an in-depth report to explore the opportunities for York’s visitor economy. Presenting on their findings, Signe and Peter will discuss how the tourism industry can work together to develop and deliver a bigger, broader and bolder tourism strategy for the city post-covid.

Delegates will also hear the latest insights and market trends from Visit Britain on the return of international tourism and learn more from Glasgow Convention Bureau on how business tourism can take the lead on a city’s sustainability strategy.

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “We’re disappointed to not be holding the Visit York Tourism Conference in-person as planned in January, but the safety of our delegates, speakers and staff must come first. The uncertainty regarding current concerns over the Omicron variant meant that it was looking increasingly unlikely that we’d be able to hold the networking event we had envisaged, with further complexities due to our programme of overseas speakers. We want as many people as possible to enjoy our stellar line-up of speakers, taking the event online allows us to do this in the safest way possible.”

Delegates have been contacted to inform them of the change to the event. For those who purchased tickets, they will be automatically refunded. All existing delegates will be automatically signed up to the online conference and will receive the log-in details a few days prior to the event. 

For new delegates wishing to sign up to the virtual conference, please RSVP here.

For further information please contact:

Sarah Foster – Communications Manager at Make It York

Email: sarah.foster@makeityork.com  

Virtual Conference Timings

09:30                   Conference Opens                                                                                              Clare Frisby

09:35                   Welcome (to include 5 minute showreel)                                                     Sarah Loftus

09:45                   When will International Tourism Return?                                                        VisitBritain

Richard Nicholls, Head of Research and Forecasting at VisitBritain, covers the latest      insights and market trends from Visit Britain on the return of international                          tourism to the UK.

10:05                   Tourism for a Better City                                                                                    Group NAO

In Autumn 2020, Make it York commissioned Group NAO to elaborate on how York’s              visitor economy could ‘build back better’ post pandemic. 

Group NAO scanned the European horizon for inspirational reference cases and                      interviewed close to 20 key stakeholders in York’s visitor economy and city                 management about their inspirations and aspirations for the future.

Signe Jungersted and Peter Rømer Hansen, founding Partners of Group NAO,                             present the results from this research.

10:35                   Becoming a sustainable destination                                    Glasgow Convention Bureau

We hear from Aileen Crawford, Head of Tourism & Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, about how business tourism can take the lead on a city’s sustainability strategy, becoming a sustainable destination and getting the accreditation to prove it.

As part of their journey towards city resilience, Glasgow City Council and Visit                            Glasgow have joined the GDS (Global Destinations Sustainability) movement, the          world’s leading benchmarking and performance improvement programme for                        tourism destinations.

10.55                   Break

11:10                   Panel discussion                                                                                                                  All

A panel of tourism businesses share their vision for the visitor economy and how we      take a more holistic approach to York as a destination.

11.30                   Conference closes

About Make It York

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events and culture.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand

Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

About the Speakers

Richard Nicholls, Head of Research and Forecasting at VisitBritain

Richard Nicholls joined VisitBritain in 2015 as Head of Research and Forecasting. He and his team are responsible for analysis of inbound tourism data, insights and prospects both for VisitBritain and for the benefit of the wider UK tourism industry.

Signe Jungersted and Peter Rømer Hansen, Founding Partners at Group NAO

Signe Jungersted and Peter Rømer Hansen are founding partners in innovation and strategy agency Group NAO. Group NAO works with strategic transformation and innovation within the experience and visitor economy. Recent projects include 101sustainableideas.com with Gothenburg, Power of Community series with European Cities Marketing, ‘Tourism Taxes by Design’ and ‘Time for DMOcracy’ as multi-client projects.

Aileen Crawford, Head of Tourism & Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau

Aileen is Head of Tourism & Conventions at the award-winning Glasgow Convention Bureau, responsible for the successful positioning of Glasgow as a conference destination for national and international association meetings. In addition, Aileen’s role includes Destination Management, working in partnership with industry, VisitScotland and Glasgow City Council in collaboration to develop and improve the visitor experience.


About the Panellists

Abbi Ollive, Head of Marketing and Sales at Castle Howard
Abbi is a proud Yorkshire marketing and communications devotee and current member of Castle Howard’s Senior Management Team. After a ten year career in Theatre and a shorter stint in Higher Education, Abbi made the move into the Heritage and Visitor Attractions sector and has been Head of Marketing and Sales at Castle Howard for the past four years.

Andrew Lowson, Executive Director at York BID
Andrew began his career undertaking commercial master planning and project management within the aviation and rail sectors.  From this he worked in the area of economic development for a government agency before becoming Managing Director of a York based events company, where he helped double turnover and expanded operations into the south of the UK.  Andrew was appointed as Executive Director of the York BID due to his experience of running a small business alongside his understanding of working with multiple stakeholders on economic improvement programmes; not to mention his passion for York.

Rebecca Hill, Managing Director at Galtres Lodge

Rebecca Hill is the owner of Galtres Lodge Hotel and its Forest restaurant in York. She is also a marketing and revenue consultant for Hilltop Consulting, board member for York BID and as of early 2021 the newly appointed chair of Indie York.

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