Reflections on Discover Aberdeenshire and World Travel Market – UKinbound’s Intern Yasmin Ayture

UKinbound’s intern Yasmin Ayture provides us with her thoughts on spreading tourism around the UK and attending World Travel Market.

I really enjoy going to visit towns and regions that are a little ‘off the beaten track’ and I got the chance to do just that when I took part in UKinbound’s latest ‘Discover’ event in Aberdeenshire.  I had such an amazing time, visiting Scotland for the first time, and revelling in the gems of Aberdeenshire such as the castles, farms and stunning granite houses.

However, I was surprised to learn that this is an area of Scotland that is often overlooked by tour operators – our tourists are missing out!  Aberdeenshire (and many other areas of the UK) have such huge potential to capitalise on tourism, but it occurred to me that the UK may be victim of its own success as we have so many iconic locations and fantastic tourism product to share with our domestic and international visitors that it can be difficult for some areas of the UK to compete with more well-known and accessible locations.

I know that DMOs all over the UK are funded and supported differently and can indirectly compete with one another for visitor numbers and spend, so it was really great to see some of the Discover England Fund projects at World Travel Market in November.  Many of these projects have created itineraries that bring together new and different themes which extend across many regions and destinations.

At World Travel Market – I also got the chance to work with the UKinbound team on their stand. I have attended WTM before as a student but this time – the experience was very different!  I particularly enjoyed working alongside UKinbound’s Global Partner – VisitBritain and it was great to be a part of such a busy and dynamic stand representing the UK, with over 60 of our members exhibiting alongside us.

Colleagues at UKinbound also encouraged me to attend some of the events at WTM. Most memorably, I watched June Serpong give a fantastic presentation about diversity in the workplace. It was a poignant and highly effective talk, asking us to look around our offices and ask ourselves “Does everyone here look and sound like me?” and if so, “What can I do to bring more diversity to the office?”. It was great to have these issues discussed at such a well attended event, especially as tourism is really all about bringing together different cultures and skill sets so that we can best meet the needs of our international tourists.

I also really enjoyed watching the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards 2018, where BBC presenter Tanya Beckett presented companies with awards for categories such as ‘Best for Communicating Responsible Tourism’ and ‘Best for Employment Conditions’. You can find out more about the winners here.

Overall, WTM 2018 was a resounding success for UKinbound and our members, and I thought the event highlighted the great work being done in tourism all year round.