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UKinbound celebrates 40th anniversary at Annual Convention in Plymouth

Published: 24 Feb 2017

UKinbound celebrated its 40th anniversary at the biggest Annual Convention to date, with 250 delegates making their way down to Britain's 'Ocean City' for the annual 3-day event, organised in partnership with Destination Plymouth.

The city is currently undergoing a multi-million pound development  as it prepares for the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower in 2020, and the UKinbound Annual Convention was the perfect opportunity for members to start building connections ahead of the celebrations.

Taking our 40th anniversary as the main theme, the conference at Holiday Inn Plymouth began on Wednesday 8 February with the AGM, where Chief Executive Deirdre Wells gave an overview of the achievements and challenges of the Association and the inbound tourism sector since 1977, while Chairman Mark McVay outlined future goals and advocacy priorities.

Graham Pickett, Head of Travel and Aviation at Deloitte UK reflected on the impact of Brexit on the travel industry to date, and what the UK can do in preparation for leaving the European Union. His top priorities included increased visa openness, reducing high taxes and duties, improving key skills, and developing airport and transport infrastructure. Graham also touched on the rise of 'bleisure' - combining business trips with leisure - and how businesses must do all they can to attract the digitally connected traveller.

Keynote speaker Deirdre Bounds, founder of and told of her experiences and lessons learned when setting up her businesses. Her top tips included how to brainstorm creatively (hint: do it outside the office!), looking at the industry as a whole when developing or improving products and services, and always consider the emotions of your customers.

A new brand identity, created to mark UKinbound's 40th anniversary, was unveiled by Mark McVay. The brand reveal video will be made available for members to download in due course, while minutes of the AGM and presentations from the first day are available to members here.

The retrospective look continued with a 1970s themed networking evening at the New Intercontinental Hotel in the heart of Plymouth, where delegates were treated to a cocktail making demonstration courtesy of Plymouth Gin and Tigermilk at The Duke, revisited their youth with a 70s buffet, and let their competitive sides out in the pub quiz.

On day two delegates took part in a revamped and extended B2B workshop, alongside an exhibition of 10 local suppliers including Powderham Castle, Boringdon Hall, and VisitDevon. 15 CEOs took part in a roundtable discussion chaired by TravelMole's Graham McKenzie and attended by Giles Smith, Head of Tourism at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The discussion was wide ranging, focusing primarily on the opportunities and challenges of Brexit and some of the key issues facing the industry currently, such as how to attract visitors outside peak months and the availability of quality hotel stock outside London.

Thursday evening saw the UKinbound Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner held in the stunning Plymouth Guildhall, where delegates were given a very special welcome by the Royal Marine Band drum corps. Comedian Ed Gamble provided the after dinner entertainment, and compered the Awards for Excellence ceremony. 

Awards for Excellence 2016 winners

Tour Operator of the Year Jac Travel
Individual Attraction of the Year Blenheim Palace
Accommodation Provider of the Year Jurys Inn
Destination Marketing Company of the Year Tourism South East
Service Provider of the Year - Transport & Sightseeing The Original London Sightseeing Tour     
Service Provider of the Year - Restaurant, Retail & Ticketing Hospitality Line
Service Provider of the Year - Professional Services made
Chairman's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism John Wales, CEO, Encore Tickets

On the third and final day, delegates headed off on familiarisation trips to the local area, including Plymouth's naval Heritage, Barbican, and Royal William Yard. Overnight trips to Devon and Cornwall were also arranged, with delegates enjoying key sites and attractions such as Dartmoor National Park, Bovey Castle, St. Michael's Mount, and The Eden Project.

Photos from Convention are available to view here. 

Finally, UKinbound are delighted to announce that Annual Convention 2018 will be held in Cardiff, supported by Visit Wales

Angela Shanley Associates corporate partner
The Original London Sightseeing Tour
Jurys Inn
Millennium and Copthorne Hotels
World Travel Market Portfolio
Great Western Railway
London & Partners
Macdonald Hotels and Resorts
Jupiter Hotels
City Cruises Gold Partner

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