VISIT ESSEX MEMBER’S COME TOGETHER FOR ANNUAL TOURISM CONFERENCE
VISIT Essex recently held its 8th Annual Tourism Conference at the Holiday Inn, Southend Airport, with around 100 tourism professionals attending from the county.
Focusing on digital media this year, Councillor Mark Durham, Deputy Portfolio holder for Tourism, hosted the event. Speakers included Jacquie Dallimore Chairperson of the Southend Tourism Partnership (and also owner of The Roslin Hotel Southend), who spoke about working in partnership and Best Practice. Whilst John Till from Thinking Places got down to the real nitty gritty and DNA of Southend, gained from residents and visitors, which formed part of a research project initiated by Southend Borough Council and Visit Essex. On an annual basis Larking Gowen produce a Tourism and Leisure Business Results Survey, and guests heard from Chris Scargill, Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality partner, on what the outcomes were for the previous year. Visit England’s Xavier Faux gave a national update on tourism, whilst Lisa Bone, Strategic Tourism Manager, presented an overall picture of what Visit Essex have achieved in the last year, and where their focus will be for the rest of 2018.
Lisa Bone said ‘I was delighted how the event went, and it was so good to see a great attendance. Many of our members commented on how engaging and varied the speakers were throughout the day, and it’s a great way to get all the tourism businesses together to update them on our many plans for the year ahead.
Hearing from professionals on topics that may impact or benefit their business, sharing best practice ideas and of course networking together, made for a very useful day’.
After a networking lunch, guests heard from Karen Longin, Head of IT Development and Architecture at Hoseasons on Tourism & Travel; Today, and Mary Tebje who spoke about working with the Group Travel Trade. GDPR being a hot subject at the moment, meant that Scott Sammons from Lighthouse IG, enlightened the audience on how this would affect tourism businesses. And finally, speakers Charlotte Hancock English Heritage, Kate Ailey, Vibrant Partnerships and Allison Dewey Southend Bid, gave examples of Best Practice for Digital Media.
Councillor Durham said ‘I think that the speakers on the day were excellent, and the content was just right for the audience. I was very pleased and proud to have been able to host the event, and firmly believe that Visit Essex is a vitally important function of the County Council. It was a very worthwhile day for all’.
Essex is worth £3.1billion to the local economy (up by 2% on 2015 figures), employing over 60,863,000 tourism and related jobs – 8.8% of the total workforce in the county (up 3.1%). There were a total of 51,609,037 day and staying trips in 2016, up by 2%.