Tourism Symposium 2017

Monday June 05, 2017
Tuesday June 06, 2017

Tourism Symposium 2017
Heritage and Innovation: The future of tourism

Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th June 2017


This year the Tourism Symposium will be held in the award-winning UNESCO world heritage city of Edinburgh. In addition to an informative and interesting full day of discussion and debate the comprehensive programme will include a selection of study tours exploring Edinburgh's 250-year-old New Town and up-to-date festival venues and sites, along with the opportunity to travel to Glasgow, and an informal networking reception.

The Symposium’s 27 speakers will discuss global trends, challenges and opportunities facing the tourism and travel industries, covering topics including investing in future tourism leaders, capitalising on innovation, and examining tourism’s implications on the economic future of heritage sites, from UK, EU and international perspectives. TEDx-style inspirational interludes will also feature.

Our keynote speaker is Ty Speer, President and CEO at Tourism Vancouver (Edinburgh’s twin city).

The Tourism Symposium is the only UK-based industry-wide conference and is a must-attend event for anyone wanting to hear the latest ideas and developments from across Tourism.

Symposium Partners - To view our sponsors and supporter profiles click here




Monday 5th June - Edinburgh Discovery Tours

Head to Edinburgh before the conference on Tuesday 6th and enjoy our Discovery Tours, showcasing both the old and new towns of Edinburgh. (Please note our discovery tours are included in your ticket price). For more details on the tours available please click here.
Registration: starts at 12 noon

Tour options:
1. Edinburgh Festivals walking tour: Journey through the capital’s New Town and Old Town on foot, taking in many of the key year-round festival sites and venues of Edinburgh’s major festivals.
2. A window on the west: By train to Glasgow to discover the city’s distinctive architectural and musical heritage, rounded off with a hop on/hop off bus tour of key sights.
3. Edinburgh’s New Town (Edinburgh World Heritage Trust): Explore the architectural and city-planning masterpiece of Edinburgh’s New Town, developed between 1767 and 1850. The main street, Princes Street looks up to Edinburgh Castle across Princes Street Gardens (previously the Nor Loch, drained in the 18th and 19th century).
4. Scotland: past and present. Start at the National Museum of Scotland and journey through the history of Scotland, its links with the world and a look at life today then walk down the historic Royal Mile to visit the Scottish Parliament for a guided tour.

To book your Discovery Tour and to tell us about your dietary requirements please complete the enclosed survey -


Monday 5th June - Evening Networking + Canapes
Join our networking reception with canapes at The Rowntree after your Discovery Tour and enjoy an informal, relaxed networking environment before our conference on Tuesday 6th.
Event starts: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Location: The Rowantree, 253 -255, The Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1NN
With Lord Thurso FTS, President, The Tourism Society, and Chairman, VisitScotland.


Tuesday 6th June - Tourism Symposium Full Day Conference
A full day of discussions, presentations and conversations. Morning sessions will concentrate on destinations – who runs them and what they do, looking at examples of major events and how to get people out of cities and spreading the benefits of tourism. In the afternoon we will consider the future, of the Tourism Society as it celebrates its 40th anniversary and of the tourism industry.

Event starts: 8.30am - 4.05pm
Location: The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE - click here for details.

Registration and coffee
Welcome - Hayley Beer-Gamage FTS, Chairman, Tourism Society

  • Ty Speer, President & CEO, Tourism Vancouver, Canada  – Vancouver and Edinburgh have been twin cities since 1977.

Future tourism leaders: investing in future talent
Overall, the sector now supports 292 million people in employment – that’s 1 in 10 jobs on the planet (WTTC, 2017). To ensure these people see long-term opportunities, the companies employing them must ensure they are offering the best opportunities and support. Our speakers will discuss how best to attract and keep the best in the industry, from the education stage right through developing careers.

  • Chair: Jenny McGee MTS, Interim Executive Director, Tourism Society
  • Paul McCafferty MTS, Head of Tourism, Scottish Enterprise
  • Ross Tinsley MTS, Assoc of Tourism in Higher Education
  • David Allen, Director, People 1st in Scotland

‘QuickChat’ - 8 Minutes of Inspiration on How DMOs are coping with the cuts and how there is a successful and creative way to overcome this.

  • David Curtis-Brignell FTS, Destination Partnerships Director, Go To Places

Coffee & networking
Cities as Gateways for Rural Exploration
Many city visitors won’t venture far once they have arrived. But tourism works better for the country when visitors do leave the city centres and spread the benefits of tourism further afield. Our panel will consider how stakeholders can use insight data, transportation and technology to develop their offerings and how they are presented, together with views on rural trends and what marketing campaigns are achieving in terms of spreading tourism’s benefits.

  • Chair: Denise Hill, Head of Market Strategy and Development, VisitScotland
  • Heather Reekie, Marketing Manager, Rabbie's Small Group Tours
  • Cathy Craig, Commercial Director, ScotRail
  • Anthony Pickles, Head of Tourism Affairs, VisitBritain

Living Laboratories - What can festivals and event trends tell us about the future of tourism
The age, taste and expectations of festival-goers have evolved over the years and can be a useful barometer for the wider industry, so what are the current trends? And what should other tourism sectors be taking away from the festival experience and applying to their own area?

  • Chair: Julia Amour, Director, Festivals Edinburgh
  • Bob Palmer, Former Council of Europe Director
  • Jean Cameron, Paisley 2021

Speech - Ms Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs, Scottish Government

Lunch & networking

‘QuickChat’ - 8 Minutes of Inspiration - Running an upside-down company; the 'employees first, customer second' approach.

  • Juliana Delaney FTS, CEO, Continuum Attractions

Augmented Reality and its implications for tourism

  • Melanie Sensicle MTS, Chair of England's Heritage Cities, will discuss the impact of new technologies on some of England's oldest cities.

40 years of Tourism
The Tourism Society is 40 years old, prompting a look forward to the next forty years as well. What have been the most important trends in UK tourism since 1977, and what should we watch in the next forty years?

  • Prof. Brian Hay MTS, Heriot-Watt University

The Power of Innovation & Collaboration
Collaborating to provide a better experience for visitors and guests, and developing new ways of speaking to customers or new ways of hosting them are key areas to address if you want to stay ahead. Our panel will discuss the Power of Innovation and Collaboration and how organisations are using partnerships to innovate new and exciting ideas that disrupt the industry.

  • Chair: Prof. Anna Leask FTS, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Paul Wakefield, Head of Marketing and Commercial, Marketing Edinburgh
  • Craig Stewart MTS, Director, freetobook
  • Julie Grieve, Managing Director, Information Apps

Tourism and Culture: the past and the future
Tourism is growing globally, especially heritage tourism. Responding to a contribution by UNWTO’s Secretary General and drawing on case studies from UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the expert panel will consider the role of heritage in shaping our social, environmental and economic futures?
We will explore Tourism and Culture: the past and the future to examine how the industry can innovatively conserve and interpret heritage, whilst driving sustainable growth and development.

  • Chair: Benjamin Carey FTS, Managing Director, Carey Tourism
  • Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO (video message)
  • Sorcha Carey, Director, Edinburgh Art Festival
  • Nic Greenan, External Relations Director, East Street Arts, Leeds
  • Dr Roger Carter CBE FTS, Managing Director, TEAM Tourism Consulting

Review of the day

Ticket prices* (no VAT to add)
Two-day ticket prices include Discovery Tours and evening reception on the Monday and the full-day conference on the Tuesday with lunch. Travel and accommodation is not included, but see Scotrail offer below for train travel.
Tourism Society member £159       ~       Non-Member £199
Ticket prices* (no VAT to add)
One-day ticket price for Tuesday 06th conference only including lunch. Travel and accommodation is not included, but see Scotrail offer below for train travel.
Tourism Society member £119       ~       Non-member £159
Tourism Society Student member (Tuesday ticket only) £45       ~       Non-member Student (Tuesday ticket only) £75
Partner ticket (ie partner of a full ticket purchaser) to attend study tours and Monday reception £40 only). Please choose this ticket if you would like to attend the networking event only.
* Please note - fees of between 0.8% and 2.0% apply to credit/debit card payments.


Scotrail are providing free travel on their network for Symposium delegates. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please send the following information to the Tourism Society office:

  • your name
  • where you are travelling from
  • when you are travelling (both out and return)
  • a postal address to send the passes to.

The latest we can receive this information is Friday 19th May.

To book for your FREE ScotRail tickets please e-mail



Tourism Society HQ Hotel

To book for the Courtyard please e-mail 


Convention Edinburgh has negotiated rates for Tourism Society Symposium 2017 at seven hotels ranging from three- to five-star and is pleased to offer a free online accommodation booking service to delegates attending this event. To view and book the various accommodation options please click on this link. (NB - if the link does not work please try it in Internet Explorer - the full link is

To book your hotel please contact: Lynne Downie Tel 0131 473 3874 or email

Credit card details are required to make a booking and confirmation shall be sent to your e-mail address.  Payment should be made directly with the accommodation provider at the time of your stay.

More information about the programme, speakers and travel will be added as details are confirmed - please check back regularly and keep an eye on our social media channels on @tourismsociety, facebook and linkedin.

Edinburgh Skyline (Marketing Edinburgh)                                                     Scotrail Super Sprinter, Loch Awe (Scotrail)

Venue Information

The Hub



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