Major speaker announcements are coming in fast for this year’s British Tourism & Travel Show, as it adds experts from VisitEngland, AGTO, Tourism Alliance, Tourism for All, the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, Green Bus and Coach and Travlaw to its business seminar line-up.

Taking place at the NEC Birmingham on 25-26 March, it’s the UK and Ireland’s biggest domestic travel and tourism trade show of the year. Among the annual highlights is a packed programme of keynotes and panel sessions, sharing insights on everything from experiential tourism marketing strategies to sustainable coach tourism, from new travel legislation to post-Brexit tourism opportunities. “The British Travel & Tourism Show is vital to the group travel market,” explains Wendy Hartley-Scarff, CEO of the Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO), who will be chairing the event’s popular AGTO Question Time panel on Thursday 26 March. “It enables GTOs to source products and develop itineraries in a great environment of friendly and knowledgeable people, and it provides interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking seminars.  A visit to BTTS is invaluable,” she says.

Market insights
New for 2020 is a headline Keynote by Vicky Parr, business support manager at national tourism agency VisitEngland. She’ll be outlining some of the latest business performance trends, including the current size and the value of the English tourism market, and talking about how their business support resources can help tourism businesses grow, be more productive and legally compliant. According to VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s latest domestic tourism stats, there’s been strong growth in the short breaks/staycations market.  While around £72 billion was spent during the 2018-19 financial year in England (on day trips and overnight stays). To find out more, head to the Keynote Theatre on opening day (Wednesday 25 March) at 11.30am.

Experiential tourism – something for all ages
One trend tipped to be even bigger in 2020 is experiential travel – where visitors enjoy more authentic, unique and interactive experiences/events/activities that reflect the culture, history, food, music and traditions of their tourism destination.  And it’s not just millennials fuelling the rising demand, tour operators and group bookers are increasingly seeing visitors of all ages looking to do something a little different or try something new.

Music tourism is a prime example of how tourism businesses, destinations and attractions can work successfully together to provide visitors with unique and memorable experiences – whether it’s festivals, live performances, musical theatre, concerts, or tours of iconic music landmarks.  It’s something Liverpool – home to The Beatles and recognised as a ‘City of Music’ by the UN, has excelled in for decades.  Their music offering brings in millions of pounds a year to the city and supports thousands of jobs.

Marketing Liverpool is looking forward to sharing their success stories, best practices and top tips for collaboration at British Tourism & Travel Show this year.  A regular show exhibitor, they are hosting an exclusive Keynote panel on Music Tourism.

This must-attend session, at 1pm on Thursday 26 March, will feature: Kevin McManus, head of UNESCO City of Music, Roag Best (brother of Pete Best, the original Beatles drummer) and owner of the Magical Beatles Museum, Julia Baird (John Lennon’s sister), honorary president of the newly-opened Strawberry Field project, and BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Paul Beesley, who’s also chair of The Association of Liverpool Tour Guides.

More speaker highlights

Kurt Jansen, director of Tourism Alliance, explores the challenges and opportunities facing the UK tourism industry when the country leaves the EU.

Gemma Wilson, commercial solicitor at Travlaw LLP, hosts a whistlestop tour of the key provisions of the travel sector’s most important piece of legislation – The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018.

Steven Salmon, international manager at the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, discusses the impact of Brexit – including how it has changed/will change the opportunities available ‘over the water’ to British coach operators.

Raymond Veal, CEO of Tourism for All UK, outlines how businesses can tap into the growing accessible tourism market, including ideas and insights on how giving great service to disabled customers needn’t be as difficult – or as expensive - as you might think.

Anthony Rawlins, founder of Digital Visitor, explains why marketing your tourism business as an experience is a key strategy for success, and, more importantly – how to do it.

Plus, Steve Rooney, managing editor of Green Coach and Bus, talks about the UK government’s pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and the challenges ahead for the coach tourism sector.

For more details and timings, please visit:

BTTS Industry Snapshot Survey

British Tourism & Travel Show has launched this year’s BTTS ‘Industry Snapshot Survey’.  Open to tour operators, DMOs, visitor attractions, destinations and hotels based across the UK and Ireland, the findings (to be announced in late March) will provide a ‘snapshot’ of how the domestic tourism sector has fared over the last 12 months and their predictions for what’s in store for 2020.

To take part, please visit:

British Tourism & Travel Show – free trade registration

The British Tourism & Travel Show is taking place at the NEC Birmingham on 25-26 March.  For more information and to register for a free ticket, please visit and use priority code PR1 (direct link:

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