STA Signature Conference

Sig conf

Thought leaders from the world of finance, economic policy, technology and innovation, food tourism, hospitality and the political world will headline the speaker line up for Scottish Tourism Alliance Conference 2018.

This year’s event will be focused around the ‘Next Generation for Tourism’, looking at the future challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Scotland’s tourism industry. 

STA Conference 2018 will examine the political, global and economic outlook, offering insights into our fast paced and rapidly changing world with information and inspiration on how to lead for the future and of course attract, develop and retain our next generation of employees. 

Conference sessions have been built around themes such as innovation, entrepreneurship, meeting the expectations of the future traveller and connecting with and winning new audiences in an increasingly competitive digital marketing world.  The food tourism opportunity will be explored in the context of the quality, authentic experience which lies at the heart of the Tourism Strategy and we will welcome international and home grown speakers to share all the latest insights and trends on our conference themes this year.

The event will take place at the SEC in Glasgow on 1 March.  Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend Advisory Workshops and a special Civic Reception on the afternoon/evening prior to conference to celebrate the start of the very first Scottish Tourism Month.

Speaker line up

9-10am Networking welcome breakfast

Fuel up for the big day ahead, meet and mingle with conference delegates and take the opportunity to visit the exhibition.

Conference Programme – morning (10am – 12.30)
Fiona Ministerial Address
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Culture and External Affairs

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP will share thoughts on the opportunities and challenges currently faced by our industry and the importance of tourism to our economy.
A Forecast of What Lies Ahead- The Future Economic Outlook 
Professor Graeme Roy, Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute

Graeme will set the background scene for the day with his insights, analysis and future predictions for the Scottish tourism industry in the context of the UK and global economy in session one. 
Graeme Codrington Leading in a Fast Changing World
Graeme Codrington, internationally acclaimed speaker and author

This session will offer some fresh thinking and insights delivered by keynote speaker, internationally acclaimed author and futurist Graeme Codrington, one of the world’s top rated speakers and an expert on the future of work.  He’ll be providing strategic insights for organisations that are dealing with disruptive change and need to understand the future and prepare their leaders for success in turbulent times


Welcome to Our World - Connecting & working with Scotland’s next generation

In this panel session questions will be posed and thoughts shared by our 4 panellists on how leaders of today and tomorrow can better, communicate with, attract, develop, inspire, work with and retain our next generation workforce.

Kirsty Mitchell, Chief Executive, Digital Connextions Limited
Ross Anderson, International Business Executive, Scottish Development International 
Steve Ross, Head Teacher, Craigroyston Community High School
marc The STA’S Future Focus - Representing the industry, shaping and influencing TS2030
Marc Crothall, CEO of Scottish Tourism Alliance  

With lots of big issues addressed by the STA in 2017 Marc will provide an update on what are the key issues that the STA will focus on when representing the industry’s views to government as we head towards Brexit – he will also set out the progress made and process for development of the national tourism strategy TS2030 by the Tourism Leadership Group.
Networking lunch  You can meet and catch up with colleagues and have a wander round the exhibition before we move into the afternoon session which has been built around the theme of the ‘quality authentic experience’ which is at the heart of the Tourism Strategy, with advice and insights brought to you by some truly inspirational and insightful global speakers and personalities.

Session 2 

2pm - 3.30pm

kris_reid_marty_bell_tens (002) A Future So Bright…You’ve Gotta Wear Shades!
Marty Bell and Kris Reid, Founders of TENS Sunglasses

Stephen and Marcus, our 15 year old co-host will welcome us back before the first afternoon session kicks off with  Marty Bell and Kris Reid founders of TENS Sunglasses for an ‘enlightening’ interview!  

The  TENS Sunglasses story is truly inspirational and entertaining so be prepared for a lively account for the all-important post-lunch session.  Along with friend, Tom Welsh, Marty and Kris disrupted the sunglasses world in 2014 by launching a pair of sunglasses that react to light to transform the user’s view into a vivid experience, full of clarity and colour, making everyday life look and feel ten times better. 
caroline Insights into the Changing Traveller Trends
Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel Research at Euromonitor

In the second session of the afternoon, we will welcome back Caroline Bremner Head of Travel Research at Euromonitor International to conference to talk about international travel trends and how we can future proof our industry to meet the needs and expectations of the future tourist.
1  Selling Scotland with the Stars
VisitScotland Marketing Stars

VisitScotland will take to the stage next with their session on the Year of Young People. We will hear how some of Scotland’s rising stars are leading the marketing of our nation. Nikki, Rachel, Conor and Hannah will take delegates on a multi-media tour of the work VisitScotland are doing with partners and industry in 2018. No jargon. No middle aged men. Just those that own the future talking about how they will shape it.
Coffee Break  Your chance to network, take in the exhibition and also meet Caroline and Conor in our ‘Camp Fire’ chats.
Session 3  
4pm - 5.30pm


Stirring up Passion – inspiring Scotland’s next generation of chefs
Gary Maclean, Scotland’s National Chef and former Masterchef winner
For the final part of the day, we’ll invite  Gary Maclean, multi-award winning chef, former Masterchef winner and Scotland’s National Chef to the stage for an interview with Stephen Jardine and to talk more about his work on inspiring the future generation of chefs and hospitality professionals and of course, putting Scotland firmly on the global map as a food destination.


The New Avocado – A Recipe for Growing Food Tourism

Rebecca Mackenzie, President and CEO of the Culinary Food Alliance

Keeping the food theme firmly on the menu, our next speaker, President and CEO of the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA), Rebecca Mackenzie will share her insights and knowledge of current global food trends and the future outlook and opportunity in food tourism. 

The future of our industry is still in our hands! 
Gordon Campbell Gray, Founder of Campbell Gray Hotels

We will close the day with our final keynote session, welcoming one of most inspirational speakers from the hospitality world,  Gordon Campbell Gray to share his stories, experiences and wisdom from his years spent not only as a Catey Award winning hotelier with an international portfolio of hotels from Beirut to Islay, but as Vice President of Save the Children and his work as an environmentalist.

Conference close

5.30pm -7.30pm

SFD_HighRes_LARGE ‘Wrap Up’ Networking drinks reception 
Our conference will close with an early evening networking and drinks event, giving delegates the chance to meet, mingle, relax, have fun and enjoy a glass or two with some canapés to round off what is sure to be an inspiring and insightful day.