Tourism Symposium 2017

Monday June 05, 2017
Tuesday June 06, 2017

Tourism Symposium 2017
Heritage and Innovation: The future of tourism

Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th June 2017

#TSymp17 #ts2017

This year the Tourism Symposium will be held in the award-winning UNESCO world heritage city of Edinburgh. In addition to an informative and interesting full day of discussion and debate the comprehensive programme will include a selection of study tours exploring Edinburgh's 250-year-old New Town and up-to-date festival venues and sites, along with the opportunity to travel to Glasgow, and an informal networking reception.

The Symposium’s 19 speakers will discuss global trends, challenges and opportunities facing the tourism and travel industries, covering topics including investing in future tourism leaders, capitalising on innovation, and examining tourism’s implications on the economic future of heritage sites, from UK, EU and international perspectives. TEDx-style inspirational interludes will also feature.

Our keynote speaker is Ty Speer, President and CEO at Tourism Vancouver (Edinburgh’s twin city).

The Tourism Symposium is the only UK-based industry-wide conference and is a must-attend event for anyone wanting to hear the latest ideas and developments from across Tourism.


Symposium Partners - To view our sponsors and supporter profiles click Here




Monday 5th June - Edinburgh Discovery Tours

Head to Edinburgh before the conference on Tuesday 6th and enjoy our Discovery Tours, showcasing both the old and new towns of Edinburgh. (Please note our discovery tours are included in your ticket price). For more details on the tours available please click here for tours 1, 2 and 4 so far):
Registration: starts at 12 noon

Tour options:
1. Edinburgh Festivals walking tour: Journey through the capital’s New Town and Old Town on foot, taking in many of the key year-round festival sites and venues of Edinburgh’s major festivals.
2. A window on the west: By train to Glasgow to discover the city’s distinctive architectural and musical heritage, rounded off with a hop on/hop off bus tour of key sights.
3. Edinburgh’s New Town (Edinburgh World Heritage Trust): Explore the architectural and city-planning masterpiece of Edinburgh’s New Town, developed between 1767 and 1850. The main street, Princes Street looks up to Edinburgh Castle across Princes Street Gardens (previously the Nor Loch, drained in the 18th and 19th century).
4. Scotland: past and present. Start at the National Museum of Scotland and journey through the history of Scotland, its links with the world and a look at life today then walk down the historic Royal Mile to visit the Scottish Parliament for a guided tour.

Monday 5th June - Evening Networking + Canapes
Join our networking reception with canapes at The Rowntree after your Discovery Tour and enjoy an informal, relaxed networking environment before our conference on Tuesday 6th.
Event starts: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Location: The Rowantree, 253 -255, The Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1NN
With Lord Thurso FTS, President, The Tourism Society, and Chairman, VisitScotland.

Tuesday 6th June - Tourism Symposium Full Day Conference
A full day of discussions, presentations and conversations. Morning sessions will concentrate on destinations – who runs them and what they do, looking at examples of major events and how to get people out of cities and spreading the benefits of tourism. In the afternoon we will consider the future, of the Tourism Society as it celebrates its 40th anniversary and of the tourism industry.

Event starts: 8.30am - 4.05pm
Location: The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE - click here for details.

Registration and coffee
Welcome - Hayley Beer-Gamage FTS, Chairman, Tourism Society

  • Ty Speer, President & CEO, Tourism Vancouver, Canada  – Vancouver and Edinburgh have been twin cities since 1977.

Future destination leaders: investing in future talent
With speakers from local destination management organisations, entrepreneurial managers and Edinburgh Napier University's Destination Leaders Programme.

  • Danny Cusick, Director, Scottish Enterprise
  • Ross Tinsley MTS, Assoc of Tourism in Higher Education
  • David Allen, Director, People 1st in Scotland

‘QuickChat’ - 8 Minutes of Inspiration on How DMOs are coping with the cuts and how there is a successful and creative way to overcome this.

  • Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE FTS, Chief Executive, Visit Kent

Coffee & networking
Cities as Gateways for Rural Exploration
With speakers from a range of tourism organisations.

  • Chair:  Helen Campbell, Head of Global Marketing, VisitScotland
  • Elaine Doherty, Director, Rabbie's Small Group Tours
  • Cathy Craig, Commercial Director, Scotrail
  • Anthony Pickles, Head of Tourism Affairs, VisitBritain

Living Laboratories - What can festivals and event trends tell us about the future of tourism

  • Chair: Julia Amour, Director, Festivals Edinburgh

Speech - Ms Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs, Scottish Government

Lunch & networking

‘QuickChat’ - 8 Minutes of Inspiration - Music & Tourism

  • Nic Greenan, External Relations Director, East Street Arts, Leeds

Tourism over 40 years: a discussion
A review of the Tourism Society’s first 40 years and a look ahead at what the industry might be doing over the coming decades.

  • Prof. Brian Hay MTS, Heriot-Watt University

The Power of Innovation & Collaboration
Taking new ideas from the drawing board to delivery, with examples of tourism game-changers.

  • Chair: Prof. Anna Leask, Edinburgh Napier University
  • John Donnelly, CEO, Marketing Edinburgh
  • Iain Stewart MTS, Director, freetobook
  • Julie Grieve, Managing Director, Information Apps

Tourism and Culture: the past and the future
Tourism is growing globally. Using UNESCO World Heritage Site examples, what are tourism's implications for their social, environmental and economic futures?

  • Chair: Benjamin Carey FTS, Managing Director, Carey Tourism
  • Taleb Rifai, Director General, UNWTO (video message)
  • Sorcha Carey, Director, Edinburgh Art Festival
  • Dr Roger Carter CBE FTS, Managing Director, TEAM Tourism Consulting

Review of the day

Ticket prices* (no VAT to add)
Two-day ticket prices include study tours and evening reception on the Monday and the full-day conference on the Tuesday including refreshments. Travel and accommodation is not included, but see Scotrail offer below for train travel.
Ticket prices* (no VAT to add)
One day ticket price for Tuesday 06th Conference only which includes lunch. Travel and accommodation is not included, but see Scotrail offer below for train travel.
Tourism Society member £159       ~       Non-Member £199
Tourism Society Student member (Tuesday ticket only) £45       ~       Non-member Student (Tuesday ticket only) £75
Partner ticket (ie partner of a full ticket purchaser) to attend study tours and Monday reception £40 only).
* Please note - fees of between 0.8% and 2.0% apply to credit/debit card payments.

Scotrail are providing free travel on their network for Symposium delegates. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please send the following information to the Tourism Society office:

  • your name
  • where you are travelling from
  • when you are travelling (both out and return)
  • a postal address to send the passes to.

The latest we can receive this information is Friday 12th May.



Tourism Society HQ Hotel

To book for the Courtyard please e-mail 


Convention Edinburgh has negotiated rates for Tourism Society Symposium 2017 at seven hotels ranging from three- to five-star and is pleased to offer a free online accommodation booking service to delegates attending this event. To view and book the various accommodation options please click on this link. (NB - if the link does not work please try it in Internet Explorer - the full link is

Credit card details are required to make a booking and confirmation shall be sent to your e-mail address.  Payment should be made directly with the accommodation provider at the time of your stay.

More information about the programme, speakers and travel will be added as details are confirmed - please check back regularly and keep an eye on our social media channels on @tourismsociety, facebook and linkedin.

Edinburgh Skyline (Marketing Edinburgh)                                                     Scotrail Super Sprinter, Loch Awe (Scotrail)

Venue Information

The Hub



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