Monday, November 5, 2012

Scottish Attractions Autumn Conference

The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), which represents the interests of the key visitor attractions sector in Scotland, will be holding its annual two-day Autumn Conference at the Inchyra Grange Hotel, Falkirk from 15th – 16th November 2012.

The conference will be opened by Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise & Tourism, who will talk about the Scottish Government’s vision and strategy for tourism in Scotland and the crucial role that visitor attractions play in this.

Keynote speakers include Judith Owens, Operations Director for Titanic Belfast, who will talk about the operational challenges involved in opening and running such an iconic building and the motivational tactics used to drive her team to achieving world class customer service standards; Pete Jackson, Co-Founder of Earthy and Ewan McCarthy, Creative Director of Bright 3D, who will explain how interpretive techniques can be used to add drama and theatre to retail operations; Jenny Hess, Head of Customer Insights at Historic Scotland, who will describe how customer feedback can inform the strategy for growth as well as provide valuable benchmarking information on performance against other operators; and Hilde Bergebakken, Sustainable Tourism Manager with Destination Roros, who will talk about how a small former copper mining town and World Heritage Site in Norway, attracts over 1 million visitors every year without compromising its sense of place.

Breakout sessions focusing on ‘Understanding Your Visitor’, exploring how visitor feedback can be used to inform and develop business strategy, and ‘Visitor Experience’, highlighting on how staff and volunteers can help ensure a first class experience, will give delegates the opportunity to ask questions and listen to individual case studies.

Following the Breakout Sessions, an Awards Ceremony will celebrate the best of the visitor attractions sector in Scotland. The awards this year will include presentations in the categories of ‘Best Marketing Campaign’ and ‘Best Visitor Experience’, and will culminate with the ‘Rising Star’ award, which acknowledges young people who have made a significant impact on the tourism industry.

Andrew Johnson, Chair of ASVA said: “The ‘legacy’ theme of this year’s conference has particular resonance with the outstanding success of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. We’ll be asking what lessons the visitor attractions sector can learn - not just from the vision of the athletes but also the delivery and legacy of the Games. Our speakers will highlight how having a vision of what you want to achieve can bring real business benefits and will use their own experiences to inspire delegates as well as pass on practical tips that they can take back and use in their own business”.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, the convener of leisure, tourism and community at Falkirk Council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome ASVA’s annual conference to the Falkirk area for the first time. The event brings together industry experts from all over the country and gives us a chance to showcase the fantastic facilities we have in the local area.

“The conference is promising top industry speakers – true leaders in their respective fields. I hope attendees will be inspired by the conference and get great ideas to deal with some of the challenges we face in these difficult times. Working together, and learning from best practice, we can create a strong vision for the future, improving our ‘offer’ to visitors. This in turn can encourage people to stay longer and spend more in local economies.”

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