Over the course of three days, UKinbound delegates got a real sense of what Leicester and Leicestershire has to offer. The conference opened with City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, welcoming delegates and informing members that the city was waiting for our arrival.
The Mercure Grand Leicester even had a wrap around their daily paper welcoming delegates.
Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place with particular thanks to outgoing Chairman, Rita Beckwith, and the former Board of Directors. The new Board of Directors took office and the new Chairman, Mark McVay, gave praise to the outgoing board.
This was followed by specialist business seminars and an informal networking evening held at the National Space Centre. Delegates were treated to an array of local food from suppliers such as Melton Mowbray pork pies, local cheese, as well as local Indian and Caribbean cuisine, followed by local chocolatiers, Coco Amore. This all took place whilst delegates were in spacethemed fancy dress.
Thursday morning saw our usual B2B workshop, with over 1,280 business opportunities taking place between members. Following this, we launched our very first panel debate with William Cash (UKIP), Nigel Huddleston (Google and Conservative Candidate), Nicky Morgan MP for Loughborough (Conservative), Maria Macken (Ryanair), Patrick Robinson (Airbnb), Gerry Sutcliffe (Labour) and Bill Turnbull (Moderator). In addition, we were joined by speakers Dr Richard Buckley from the University of Leicester, Nigel Huddleston, Head of Travel at Google, Chas Bishop, Chief Executive at National Space Centre, Simon Calder, Travel Journalist and Broadcaster and Bill Turnbull (Moderator).
Athena hosted our Gala Dinner and Awards of Excellence 2014. Winners were as follows: ● TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR AC Tours ● ATTRACTION OF THE YEAR City Cruises ● ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER OF THE YEAR Marriott Hotels ● DESTINATION MARKETING COMPANY OF THE YEAR VisitBritain ● SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR made ● TRAVEL TRADE EVENT OF THE YEAR World Travel Market ● NEW MEMBER OF THE YEAR The London Helicopter ● CHAIRMAN’S AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO TOURISM Adonis Farantouris Finally, we held a workshop for our tour operator members on Friday, February 13, which was followed by a VisitBritain workshop. The convention concluded with delegates being invited to take part in familiarisation trips around the city and county. Overall, the event was a huge success and we are already looking ahead to 2016 and where the convention will go following the success of Leicester.