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Robin Barker is Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, a consultancy/service company with a focus on delivering projects requiring commercial support. This follows a career of 30+ years in travel and tourism, including 6 years running database marketing at Saga Group, a year as an overseas resort rep, 12 years in consultancy, 2 years launching the £28m National Maritime Museum Cornwall and 5 years as Marketing Director of South West Tourism. He is President and a Fellow of the Tourism Management Institute. In business, Robin's company runs the tourism awards programmes for South West England, with linked schemes in Cornwall, Somerset, Devon and Dorset, the Beautiful South Awards covering the South East and the annual West Country Tourism Conference. The business also contributed to Visit England's marketing strategy for the 2012 Olympics. He acts as consultant and friend to many destinations and tourism businesses, is a Director of the Tourism Alliance, a non Executive Director of VisitDevon and a spokesman for the South West Tourism Alliance.

Keith Blundell is the Director of Blue Chip Tourism. Keith had a twenty year career in destination management, the last 12 at Liverpool City Council as Head of Tourism where he oversaw its year as European Capital of Culture 2008.  Since leaving Liverpool in 2012 to set up Blue Chip Tourism, Keith has specialised in the relationship between arts, culture & tourism, cruise tourism and the future funding agenda.  In this area he has worked with some of Britain’s biggest destinations including Manchester, Birmingham, Essex and the Core Cities, examining the feasibility of innovative funding mechanisms. In 2016 Keith was the lead consultant on the successful Visit Isle of Wight DBID, the UK’s first countywide BID.

Paul Bristow has been Director, Strategic Partnerships at Arts Council England since 2012. He leads the Arts Council’s policy on place, local government, economic growth, and rural and urban agendas. He has led the delivery of key Arts Council investment programmes including Cultural Destinations. Prior to joining the Arts Council, he was Head of Policy at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). His early career was spent in local government at the London boroughs of Bexley and Wandsworth. He has a masters degree in Public Policy from the University of London and is a Fellow of the RSA.

Dr Michael Duignan is a Senior Lecturer in Management [Visitor Economy | Tourism | Events and Festivals] and Research Fellow at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University.  Mike’s research interests include the socio-economic, political and spatial analysis of mega-events, right through to smaller grassroots cultural and sporting festivals – namely the opportunities and challenges host small business communities’ face during the planning, delivery, and ‘legacy’ stages. He is also interested in regional and tourism development, specifically the role of ‘slow tourism’ in destination management and place making. Mike is the programme director of the BSc Tourism Management programme at Anglia Ruskin University, with significant consulting experience in the tourism, events and festival sector. He frequently publishes in some of the world’s leading academic journals, and regularly engages with both media and policy platforms too. In 2015-2016, he won the national ATHE/Visit England sponsored award for ‘Leadership in the Visitor Economy’ for his work on slow tourism – the focus on his talk for the 2018 TMI conference.

Sally Everett is Deputy Dean of the Business School at Anglia Ruskin University. She is a National Teaching Fellow and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy – awarded in recognition of her work championing pedagogic practice in assessment, employability and inclusive teaching. Sally chairs the university’s inclusive champion’s action network, and co-chairs its Women’s and BME staff networks. Her research focuses on food and drink tourism, heritage tourism and inclusive curriculum design. Recent publications include a food tourism textbook and papers on events, tourism development and inclusive curriculum practices.


Councillor Lewis Herbert has been Leader of Cambridge City Council since 2014 and a Councillor in Cambridge and earlier on the Greater London Council for a total of 20 years.  His role includes developing external partnerships, and that has included supporting the creation of “Visit Cambridge and Beyond”, as well as being Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.  Outside the council, he works for Anglia Ruskin University, delivering training for local authority planners and Councillors across East England since 2003.


Ros Kerslake OBE is Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Ros trained as a solicitor before taking on leadership positions in the private sector (Gulf Oil and Booker Group).  Later, as Property Director of Railtrack, she developed an interest in place and urban regeneration, going on to lead RegenCo in the West Midlands.In 2006 Ros became CEO of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, establishing it as a leading heritage-led regeneration charity. A key achievement was saving Middleport Pottery. Ros is a non-executive director of U+I group, and a member of the Community, Voluntary & Local Services Honours Advisory Committee.  In 2016 Ros received an OBE for services to British heritage.  Ros holds two honorary doctorates, from Staffordshire and Keele Universities, for her work in heritage and regeneration, and has a degree in Law and Psychology and an MBA.

Caroline Mackenzie is an experienced PCO with over 25 year’s experience working with associations and corporate organisations. She has developed specific knowledge within the medical and healthcare meetings sector delivering events nationally and internationally.  Caroline also provides consultancy services directly to venues and DMOs as well as to associations regarding the changing regulatory landscape.  This includes topics such as; healthcare compliance, GDPR regulations and the potential implications of Brexit on the international meetings sector. She is passionate about the evolution of association events, including how to improve attendee engagement, trends, the importance of Business Tourism to the UK economy and how association events contribute to social and economic legacies. Caroline is Director/Owner of Global Association Partners globalassociationpartners.com and Operations Director for OpenAudience.co.uk.

Kerrin MacPhie is the Head of Business Events VisitBritain/VisitEngland. A leading industry figure with over 20 years' in the UK meetings industry, Kerrin has a wealth of senior level international business tourism experience within the convention bureau, association, hotel and convention centre sectors. In her role at VisitBritain/VisitEngland, Kerrin is focused on developing the UK meetings industry and helping to secure international business from key sectors including association, corporate, incentives and exhibitions. In addition, Kerrin is developing the national strategy to win more international events, reinforcing partnerships across Government and industry, and continuing to build Britain’s international brand for business events. Prior to her current role, Kerrin was Director of Conference and Exhibition Sales at ACC Liverpool, where she played a key role in driving business growth for the venue and the Liverpool City Region, in addition to developing the successful Ambassador Programme, ‘Club Liverpool’. Kerrin is former chair of the UK and Ireland Chapter of ICCA and has sat on numerous industry boards and groups, including BVEP, ABPCO and The Meetings Show Advisory board.

Kevin Millington is a tourism development advisor who has built up a strong reputation for creating tourism solutions for public and private sector organisations based on a well-researched statistical foundation.  10 years ago he set up Acorn T-Stats Ltd, which specialises in the development of online tourism statistics databases, and responded to the needs of UK and international destinations for an organised and accessible way of collecting, storing, processing and disseminating tourism-related data.  These typically range from visitor arrivals and accommodation utilisation, through to the weather and social media data.  T-Stats is currently being used by destinations across the UK, in Africa, the Middle East, and a number of island destinations in the South Atlantic and South Pacific.

Colin Munro has been Managing Director of Miconex for the past 8 years, working with towns, cities and destinations across the UK on an wide range of digital projects. Over the past 2 years he has helped to develop and launch 11 place-centred gift card programmes designed to lock in spend for participating businesses.

Giles Smith is the Interim Director, Arts, Heritage and Tourism, DCMS.  Giles grew up in Hastings with the town – so reliant on the tourism trade – and part-time jobs at Hastings Castle and the Smuggler’s Caves giving him an early insight into the importance of tourism and heritage.  On graduating from University, Giles had a brief spell in the City before joining the Department of Trade and Industry. Whilst in that department and its various guises, Giles worked as a Private Secretary and on a range of policy areas, including European employment law, energy and planning policy. Most recently he has been leading work aimed at supporting the growth, innovation and skills of the UK’s Cyber Security sector. Giles was appointed Head of Tourism, Heritage and Cultural Diplomacy in November 2016.

Chris Starkie is responsible for the day to day running and development of the Local Enterprise Partnership. Working closely with the Board, Chris guides the strategic direction of the LEP, ensuring it retains its focus on creating jobs and removing the barriers to economic growth. Chris enables New Anglia businesses to have a voice at the highest possible level, by representing them at Westminster and liaising with key influencers on the topics that are important for our region.

Dr Jan Storgårds is the Sector Lead for Digital and Creative Industries at Anglia Ruskin University – ‘Making Creative Thinking Tangible’ https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-jan-henrik-storg%C3%A5rds-9514544/With over 20 years in the digital industry and academia, Dr. Jan Storgårds is passionate about applying new emerging technologies to address real world needs by working with early stage technology companies. In his role as Sector Lead for Digital and Creative Industries, and Project Director of REACTOR at Anglia Ruskin Un