TCN Conference Nov.22 - Manchester: Speaker Bios

Thursday October 25, 2018

TCN Conference - Manchester

The Challenge of Destination Management: Balancing Growth and Sustainability

10.30 - 16.30 Thursday 22nd November 2018


The Tourism Consultants Network, a section of the Tourism Society and Europe’s leading professional association of tourism experts, is hosting a full-day tourism conference on Thursday 22 November 2018 at Manchester Central Library, in the heart of Manchester. Whether you are a tourism business, destination management organisation, tourism professional, or tourism student, you are welcome to attend, whether or not you are a member of TCN or the Tourism Society.

The theme of the conference is: “The Challenge of Destination Management: Balancing Growth and Sustainability”. Confirmed speakers include representatives from Marketing Manchester, Manchester Airport, VisitEngland, Tourism Alliance, The Netherlands Tourist Board, England’s National Parks, Marketing Liverpool, and two consultancy companies: Yellow Railroad and Creative Tourist Consults. The programme starts at 10.30am and finishes at 4.30pm and includes coffee and tea on arrival and a buffet lunch. There will be plenty of opportunity for audience engagement and networking.

The conference will also be the official launch of a Greater Manchester Chapter of The Tourism Society, building on established chapters in Wales, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Kent and Scotland.

Ticket Prices:

TCN Member £55.00
TS Member £65.00
Non - TCN/TS Member £75.00

Click here for tickets and conference programme.


Roger Goodacre, Chairman of the Tourism Consultants’ Network

Roger Goodacre is an experienced tourism development consultant who specialises in emerging markets. He is employed regularly as a technical expert and team leader by UNWTO and other international organisations, government development agencies and consultancy firms, and has carried out multiple assignments in eastern Europe, east, west and southern Africa, the Mediterranean and Middle East, and south Asia.

Most recently he has conducted detailed reviews of the national tourism strategies of Guinea-Bissau (UNWTO), Moldova (USAID) and Armenia (GIZ), and written destination management plans for Mozambique Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Donetsk Oblast in Ukraine (USAID). Earlier this year he was appointed the UK assessor for the first EU Capital of Smart Tourism initiative.

In 2013/14 he led two UNWTO teams in drafting a new Tourism Policy and 10-year Tourism Development Master Plan for the Government of Uganda. Also with UNWTO, he wrote the marketing and cultural heritage strategies in the notably successful Rwanda Tourism Master Plan. In India, he headed the UNWTO team in the implementation of the Tourism Development Master Plan for the State of Punjab.

Bilingual in English and French, Roger has more than 40 years’ experience in the tourism sector. His career began as a graduate trainee with the British Tourist Authority, where he trained in all aspects of destination marketing before postings to Amsterdam and Paris. Subsequently he was appointed marketing manager of the London Tourist Board.

Roger is a Fellow and Board Member of the Tourism Society, and since 2012 has been Chairman of the Tourism Consultants Network, Europe's leading professional association of tourism consultants.

Anoek Petit, Freelance Tourism Consultant, organiser of the conference on behalf of the Tourism Consultants’ Network and initiator of a Greater Manchester Chapter

Anoek is a travel and tourism expert with more than ten years’ experience in the industry, in both public and private sector roles, and recently began working as a freelance tourism consultant. She specialises in destination strategy planning, representation, and PR and marketing. Her international career includes positions with local councils, PR and marketing companies, a tourism ministry, a tour operator, an indigenous community cooperative, and a market research company. A Dutch national, she is a graduate of the leading tourism university in The Netherlands and speaks fluent English and Spanish as well as some Portuguese and German. Based in Salford, Greater Manchester, she has lived, worked and studied in The Netherlands, Guyana, Argentina, Ecuador, Portugal and the USA and travelled in many more countries.

Mark Holroyd, Head of Discover England's National Parks Programme, based at Peak District National Park Authority

Mark is Head of Discover England’s National Parks Programme, based at the Peak District National Park Authority in Bakewell. He is leading the development of the English National Park Experience Collection, a trade-focussed collection of new bookable experiences targeted at international visitors through VisitBritain-VisitEngland’s Discover England Fund. Mark is also a director of National Parks Partnerships LLP, the organisation set up to develop corporate partnerships between the private sector and the National Park network. He was previously Transport, Access and Sustainable Tourism Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority and a Community Tourism Development Officer in the Western Lake District. Mark has a degree in Geography, a PGCert in Destination Management and is nearing completion of an MBA. Follow Mark on twitter @tourismmark

Julian Carr, Aviation Director at Manchester Airport

Julian Carr is Aviation Director of Manchester Airport, where he oversees all air service development and airline management activities. Manchester Airport is part of MAG, and is the UK's 3rd busiest airport with over 28 million passengers per year, 60+ airlines, and over 200 destinations.

Prior to this, he was Commercial Director of East Midlands and Bournemouth Airports (also part of MAG), whilst additionally holding responsibility for all cargo activity across the MAG Group.

Before entering the airport business, Julian was a senior executive on the airline side of the table, having held positions as Managing Director of three airlines; bmibaby, My TravelLite, and most recently Stobart Air. He also has international experience having been Head of Marketing and New Product development for IATA based out of their Montreal office, where he also worked on a variety of airline consultancy projects around the globe.

Prior to entering the airline industry Julian had 10 years of management experience within the entertainment industry, working with both Virgin and Blockbuster. He also had a period as Chief Executive of Showcase Cinemas UK business in more recent years, during a sabbatical from the aviation business.

He holds an MSc in Air Transport Management from Cranfield University, is a Fellow of the Charted Institute of Logistics and Transport, and is also a qualified private pilot.

Tom Buncle, Managing Director of international destination consultancy Yellow Railroad

Tom Buncle FTS, FTMI

Tom Buncle runs Yellow Railroad Ltd., an international destination consultancy, which helps destinations improve their competitiveness through branding, marketing, destination management planning, and crisis recovery. His clients span UK/Europe, Africa, Middle East, North America/Caribbean.

In life BC (before consultancy), Tom was Chief Executive of Visit Scotland and worked for Visit Britain in USA, Canada, Norway, London and Singapore.

Also an Honorary Professor at Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University, he lectures worldwide on destination branding, crisis recovery, and global travel trends. He authored the definitive Handbook on Tourism Destination Branding, published by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

He is a Fellow of the UK Tourism Society and the UK Tourism Management Institute, a member of the Experts’ Committee of World Tourism Cities Forum (China) and the Sustainable Tourism Certification Alliance (Africa).

Tom’s motto: “Life is not a dress-rehearsal”

William Smart, England Programme Manager at VisitEngland

William Smart is Programmes Manager at VisitEngland where he is responsible today for the management of the Discover England Fund and other key England-related initiatives such as the new Trade Education Programme. He previously managed the Regional Growth Fund Project, ‘Growing Tourism Locally’ (2012-15) and the Northern Tourism Growth Fund (2015/16) giving him a unique insight into regional and local tourism activities undertaken by destinations in recent years across the whole of England.

Prior to returning to the national tourist board in 2012, he was part of the founding tourism team at East Midlands Development Agency (emda) between 2004 and 2011 delivering the regional tourism strategy with its focus on destination marketing, policy, research, quality, business support and skills. His involvement in English tourism spans nearly 20 years having first joined the former English Tourism Council in 2001 at the time of the Foot and Mouth Crisis.

Nick Brooks-Sykes, Director of Tourism at Marketing Manchester

Nick Brooks-Sykes is Director of Tourism at Marketing Manchester and Vice Chairman of the Tourism Alliance. He was educated at the University of Stirling and the Scottish Hotel School, having spent his formative years immersed in the hospitality industry at his parent’s 52-bedroom hotel. His early career began at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and, as a fluent French and German speaker, he has spent time working for tour operators in both Paris and Germany. 

Nick has over thirty years’ experience in the tourism sector, having previously held a number of senior management roles at the North West Tourist Board and North West Regional Development Agency. Until 2014, he was Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus, recognised as one of the country’s leading destination management organisations.

Nick leads the tourism and convention team at Marketing Manchester, the agency charged with promoting Manchester on the national and international stage and the official tourist board for the city region.

Sandra Ishmael, Director UK and Ireland at the NBTC Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, based in London

Sandra Ishmael is currently the Director UK & Ireland at the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions.  She started at the tourist board in 2006 as Consumer Marketing Manager and became Director in 2011.  Sandra’s career after university started in a buying department at Marks and Spencer’s head office.  She then took the decision to move overseas to Saint Lucia (Caribbean), where her travel career began.  Sandra worked for one of the leading marketing & PR agencies on the island and hence began her ‘masterclass’ in travel marketing and PR.  Upon returning to the UK, Sandra worked in the marketing departments for both Garuda Indonesia (airline) and Sandals and Beaches Resorts, before moving onto her current employer. Although Sandra’s main responsibility is the promotion of Holland in the UK & Ireland, she is also responsible for global market-overriding (marketing) campaigns.

Helen Palmer, Director at Creative Tourist Consults

Helen Palmer Co-Director Creative Tourist & Co-Director Palmer Squared

Based in Manchester, Helen’s background was originally in theatre, before becoming a marketing consultant in 1999, then creating Palmer Squared Marketing & Audience Development Agency in 2005 with her twin brother Andrew.

Helen has been part of the founding management teams of Manchester International Festival, British Ceramics Biennial, Cultureshock (Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme, Manchester 2002), Asia Triennial Manchester and The Lowry. From 2007-9 Helen led Marketing Manchester’s Marketing Coordination Unit as the Director of Strategic Marketing.

Helen is also a Director of Creative Tourist (cultural tourism communications agency) that provides strategic advice and tactical support for cultural tourism initiatives across the UK and internationally. Creative Tourist is working with the majority of Arts Council England funded Cultural Destinations consortia across England.

Helen is also studying part-time for a PhD in Film Studies at the University of Warwick.

Chris Brown, Director of Marketing Liverpool

Chris is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and having worked in a number of Hotels as a General Manager he changed course to work in destination management in 1999 – Initially he worked for five years at The Mersey Partnership as Director of Tourism, Director of Operations and interim Chief Executive before taking the role of Chief Executive at Marketing Cheshire, formerly Visit Chester and Cheshire, in 2004.

He returned back to Liverpool in 2013 to establish Marketing Liverpool and to promote the city as a first class destination for leisure, business and students. Chris is also responsible with its key partners in promoting the Liverpool brand nationally and internationally.

Chris also works to deliver the Liverpool Plan, a series of transformational events designed to bring key organisations of the city together helping to raise its profile at an international level.

He is a keen follower of all things Scotland and continues a long held ambition to finally see the country win something.

Kurt Janson, Director of the Tourism Alliance, followed by closing remarks

After graduating with a first class Masters Degree in Public Policy, Kurt was employed by the New Zealand Tourist Board to develop national and regional tourism strategies before moving to Britain in 1997 to work as Policy Manager for VisitEngland and the VisitBritain. Following the separation of the two organisations, he became the Head of Strategic Planning for VisitBritain with responsibility for Policy, Strategy, Sustainable Tourism, Business Planning and Marketing Evaluation. 

Kurt left VisitBritain in 2004 to become the Director of the Tourism Alliance, an umbrella trade association for the tourism and hospitality sector that comprises over 50 industry associations that together represent almost 200,000 businesses of all sizes throughout the UK to lobby Government on issues that support the development of the UK tourism industry. He is a member of a number of Government advisory groups including DCMS’s Tourism Industry Council and HMRC’s SMEOF and has written seven editions of VisitEngland’s “Pink Book” on accommodation legislation.