Tourism Conference Success Marks Record Year

18th January 2019

Categories: Press Releases

Destination Bristol has today (Friday 18 January) hosted its annual tourism conference with over 150 local businesses, tourist attractions, hoteliers and events venues to celebrate 2018 as “the best year yet” for Bristol tourism, and to present ambitious plans for an even greater 2019.

John Hirst, Chief Executive at Destination Bristol, kicked off the event held at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel with a speech thanking the partners there in the room who contributed to the city’s success by “pulling together for the good of the region”. Destination Bristol’s Head of Tourism Kathryn Davis (pictured) then outlined the achievements and results of the past year, with Meet Bristol enjoying a successful first year, record numbers of hotel room sales and attraction visits up in 2018, as well as Bristol recently being awarded the Rising Star at National Geographic Traveller Awards.

Vicky Parr, Business Support Manager from Visit England, presented the free resources available to local tourism businesses, including accessibility and sustainability guides, marketing toolkits and fire risk assessment tools, as part of the Taking England to the World campaign.

The conference heard from Andrew Billingham, Managing Director of YTL Arena Operations, about their plans for the Brabazon Hangar at Filton Airfield as a world-class entertainment destination. Lizzie Lyons, Business Skills Manager at Business West, addressed delegates with advice for businesses on how to access apprenticeships and to upskill employees. Lisa Knights, Head of Communications at Ashton Gate introduced phase 2 of the development of the stadium including plans for a hotel and further improved transport links. Lisa also outlined how the growth of the stadium is increasing employment for local people, particularly the under 25s.

Nigel Scott, Business Development Director at Bristol Airport presented plans for developing the airport to serve 12 million passengers per year by mid-2020s, an increase from 9 million in 2018. He explained how the plans would maximise the existing facilities and addressed the airport’s commitment to sustainability, considering noise reduction, air quality, carbon emissions and biodiversity, with the ultimate goal of a carbon-neutral airport by 2030.

Kathryn Davis closed the day by unveiling strategic plans to build on last year’s success with various upcoming trade meetings and conventions, marketing campaigns and noted the key openings coming this year including Artist Residence hotel, The Wave inland surfing lake in north Bristol, and Bear Wood at Wild Place Project.

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