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.

The Scottish Government’s ‘Year of Young People’ and Scotland’s future generations will be a key theme for framing this year’s conference; the aim of the Year being to inspire Scotland through its young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.sustainable and grow, we must continue to attract young talent into our dynamic sector.  The STA Conference will offer delegates an inspirational learning and networking experience, bringing together a carefully built programme around this important theme, featuring world-renowned speakers, homegrown talent and some of our inspiring young people.

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

Speaker line up

Morning Speakers

Fiona The day-long event will be opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs,  Fiona Hyslop MSP who will share thoughts on the opportunities and challenges currently faced by our industry and the importance of tourism to our economy.
Professor Graeme Roy, Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute 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 Our morning session will offer some fresh thinking and insights delivered by keynote speaker, internationally acclaimed author and futurist Graeme Codrington.

Graeme, one of the world’s top rated speakers is an expert on the future of work, 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. He is also a member of  TomorrowToday, a global organisation that develops leaders to enable them to gain tomorrow’s competitive advantage today, by understanding the drivers of people’s behaviour and attitudes. Graeme will deliver his session around the theme of the future of work and how to develop teams for success in turbulent times. 

STM_2018_Next_Generation - website

We will then be joined by our youth panel, representing a variety of sectors within our tourism industry, who will share their thoughts with delegates on how we can better understand and work with the future generations to inspire and get the best out of our young people.

A networking lunch will follow where 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.
Afternoon Speakers
kris_reid_marty_bell_tens (002) 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 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.


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. Alison, 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.


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.


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. 

We will close the day with our final keynote session, welcoming one of most inspirational speakers from the hospitality world, George 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.

Evening programme of Entertainment

Our 2018 conference will carry on into the evening with a night of entertainment, comedy and music brought to you by some of Scotland’s finest (past and future) stars from the stage (you can look forward to the BIG reveal on that in the New Year!).