12 Oct 2018

Leicestershire Promotions and Winning Moves are hosting the 2018 Tourism Forum, which is open to all tourism and hospitality businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire. This hugely popular event, which consistently attracts well over 100 industry delegates, is being held at the prestigious Sketchley Grange Hotel & Spa in Hinckley on Thursday 8 November 2018 between 9.30am and 5.00pm.

The topical theme for this year will be ‘Trading Through Brexit’, with the focus on helping those attending to explore how Brexit might affect the sector and their own businesses. Attention will be on helping businesses to prepare for the future, whatever that may end up looking like! Opening the event will be Beverley Nielsen, former CEO of the Heart of England Tourist Board and currently a leading player in the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University.

The Forum will also include a range of practical workshops from which delegates will be able to select. Packed with proven tips, tools and techniques, the main thrust will revolve around helping businesses to sustain themselves and grow. The approach will be inclusive and entertaining, with the aim of motivating businesses with thought-provoking content, delivered by knowledgeable and inspirational presenters. The day will also offer plenty of opportunities to network with industry partners and businesses.

The approach is very much in keeping with past Forums, where local tourism and hospitality businesses have been able to find out about initiatives to move them forward, to network with other businesses, and to receive invaluable support and advice. In fact, as a direct result of information provided and relationships developed, past Forums have led to numerous new ventures emerging for the benefit of visitors, the county and local businesses alike. These have included partnerships linked to the King Richard III discovery, development of the Loogbarooga Festival and creation of the Destination Donington offer.

Martin Peters, Chief Executive of Leicestershire Promotions comments, “The feedback from our Forum last year was very positive with delegates getting so much practical support from both the workshop sessions and the opportunities to network with other industry experts with whom they may not otherwise be in contact. We have a very strong programme in place for the 2018 Forum and urge all businesses in the sector to ensure that they attend.”

The morning and afternoon workshops are supported by the Collaborate for Growth programme. This specialist support initiative is offered free of charge to assist tourism and hospitality businesses in the city and county to develop and expand.

Collaborate for Growth is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and partners Leicester City Council (lead partner), Leicestershire County Council, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) and the Food and Drink Forum.

The programme has been running since November 2017 and has already assisted more than 70 tourism and hospitality businesses. Feedback has been excellent, with very high levels of satisfaction and impact reported. This is attributed to a variety of reasons, including:

  • Inspirational content to give business owners and leaders space and stimulus to think about the future
  • Structure to review and challenge what they’re doing
  • Availability of an expert, ‘critical’ friend to challenge and who has no agenda other than to assist
  • Support provided at no cost to the businesses

A typical example of the feedback received was from Wendy Elliot of Barford Top Campsite, who said that the “programme is very good; very, very helpful on many levels. Apart from the actual tuition, it also provides a platform for people to network and about the businesses give people the opportunity to work with other businesses. It’s nice to meet other people in the industry”.

Availability to take advantage of the support is limited and it’s forecast that recruitment of new businesses is likely to close by the end of 2018. Delegates attending the Forum who are not already signed up to receive Collaborate support will still have the opportunity to join the programme, enabling them to take advantage of the support and other sector focused events available.

Whilst the workshop sessions in the morning and afternoon are provided at no cost, delegates are invited to a networking lunch between the sessions for a small charge of £25 +VAT per person. Tickets for the Leicestershire Tourism Forum can be purchased by visiting www.goleicestershire.com/forum

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