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The Disruption and The Tourism Challenge


Blackpool hosted a bold and challenging pre- Brexit Symposium earlier this year.


The tourism world headed to the North West to plan for the unplannable – Brexit, climate change and the global economy.


Movers and shakers from worlds of business, tourism and consultancy came together in Blackpool on September 23 and 24 to benefit from a bold and prescient programme that was designed to challenge, provoke and inspire.

Shaon Talukder - Geotourist

Rachael Farrington - Visit Britain

Adrian Mills - GM BBC North


With everything still to play for on Brexit, the global economy and climate change, it has never been more necessary to hear inspirational new voices. Speakers and panelists from every corner of the British visitor economy were on hand to direct and discuss the crucial topics of Disruption and Sustainability.


This year’s lineup included a welcome from Sir Andrew Parmley, local boy made Mayor of the City of London, and contributions from Adrian Mills, Director, Business & Operations, BBC England, Shaon Talukder, Geotourist, Paul Bristow, Arts Council England, Robin Miller Stott, Transport for the North, Visit Britain’s Rachel Farrington plus Kevin Kaley FTS President of the Tourism Society and new Tourism Society CEO Keith Brown.


Tourism Product Innovation and Destination Management in both public and private sectors were up for examination with case studies and policymaker perspectives informing every session. Topics included Transport Strategy, Urban Design, Public Value of Art, controversial Visitor Payback Schemes and the Tourism Sector Deal – announced

by Teresa May but still to be finalised by Boris Johnson. Blackpool study tours were offered to allow delegates to understand how Blackpool is regenerating its tourism business.


With Brexit scheduled for a few weeks after the conference, this was a great opportunity for all involved - or merely just interested - in the future of tourism to come to Blackpool to identify the big challenges and champion the most sustainable solutions both nationally and globally.


The October deadline obviously came and went, meaning the topics discussed are still just as relevant as we head towards the end of the year.


The annual Tourism Symposium was organised by the Tourism Society, the professional membership body for people working in all sectors of the visitor economy.



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