UK travel trade’s in-person annual convention heading for Manchester

Travel trade association UKinbound has confirmed that its annual convention will go ahead this year, taking place on September 16 and 17, at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester.

The in-person event will focus on supporting the industry as it maps its path to recovery, and includes a two-day programme of topical industry debates, a keynote speaker address, B2B workshops and a themed networking evening.

There will also be an opportunity for buyers to meet with local suppliers from Manchester’s diverse tourism landscape.

The event was originally scheduled to take place in February this year, to welcome the organisation’s 400-strong membership, before lockdown rules were tightened.

In response to the evolving nature of the UK’s events industry, a virtual component has been added to the 2021 agenda and will be a feature of all future annual conventions. On Friday, September 24, delegates will be invited to attend a full day virtual B2B workshop and provided with access to a range of new on-demand webinars.

To aid the industry’s recovery, for the very first time the association will be opening its convention to both members and non-members. The event will be one of only a handful in 2021 where inbound tour operators and UK suppliers can meet and do business in person.

The association is also working in collaboration with Marketing Manchester to offer delegates familiarisation trips enabling them to experience the city and the region’s diverse tourism offering, while aiding the development of key relationships between buyers and local industry.

Joss Croft, UKinbound chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to announce the return of in-person events for the association and we’re incredibly excited to be working with Marketing Manchester to make this happen.

“International tourism is vitally important to the UK economy and will play an essential role in the revival of the UK’s great cities such as Manchester. Our convention will provide delegates with an array of commercial and networking opportunities that will help aid their recovery in 2022 and beyond.

“2022 will be an exciting year for the country as we host Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, the Commonwealth Games and Festival UK 2022. Our annual convention will ensure that businesses across the UK’s inbound travel trade industry are in a strong position to make these events a success.”

Sheona Southern, managing director at Marketing Manchester, said: “We are thrilled that the UKinbound annual convention is coming to Greater Manchester in September, bringing some highly influential delegates from across the tourism sector into the city for a two-day programme of much needed talks, debates, discussions and face-to-face networking, on top of the planned virtual strand on 24 September.

“The convention will come at a crucial time for the UK tourism sector, as it accelerates efforts to recover and rebuild from the impact of coronavirus over the coming years.

“It is particularly important that we take the opportunity to use the event as a springboard to increase future demand in visitation to the region from international markets, and we plan to pull out all the stops to impress by showcasing the very best of our accommodation, attractions, hospitality and brand new product.”