Let’s Grow Adventure Tourism Workshop Speakers

Thursday 12th November

Gergana Nikolova Regional Director, Europe & Central Asia Adventure Travel Trade Association

Three things best describe Gergana: passionate about sustainable and adventure tourism, eager for new challenges and with a truly Balkan heart. (Gergana was born in Sofia (Bulgaria) in a family in which being a citizen of the world was a fundamental value. She started learning English and Russian when she was six. By the age of 11 she had already lived in both the UK and the US. By the age of 15 she added German to her language portfolio. Later she also studied Spanish and most recently Serbian.)

Gergana holds a Masters degree in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management from the George Washington University School of Business. Her professional experience has exposed her to the different sectors in the travel industry enabling her 360° perspective on the sector. She has worked in the private sector with one of the leading hospitality groups (Starwood), collaborated with public institutions and coordinated multi-stakeholder programs under international donor programs. Different work projects have taken Gergana to different parts of the world: she has worked in the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

At ATTA Gergana’s energy leads and fuels the exciting work that the organisation is doing in Europe and Central Asia.

Gergana will join us for Workshop 1, Session 1 on Thursday 12th November 2.30pm to give you insights into……….

Global trends and the importance of the Adventure Tourism sector

In this first session Gergana will talk about the global landscape for adventure tourism, including the growing trend of soft adventure and the opportunities for Scotland from this sector.

Wednesday 25th November

Victoria Brooks, Wild Scotland

Victoria is manager of Wild Scotland, the association representing the Wildlife, Adventure and Activity tourism sector in Scotland, a not-for-profit membership organisation comprising of activity operators and wildlife tourism professionals. An experienced rural tourism professional specialising in marketing, events and projects supporting the Wildlife, Adventure and Activity Sector in Scotland. Victoria’s role includes industry engagement and advocacy for the sector.

Victoria will join us for Workshop 1, Session 2 on Wednesday 25th November 2.30pm to give you insights into……….

The findings and feedback from members surveys, and any emerging trends identified in the research that will impact Adventure Tourism in Scotland, followed by Q&A’s

Chris Greenwood, Senior Tourism Insight Manager, VisitScotland

Chris’s is responsible for seeking and interpreting trends in Scottish Tourism. Representing Scotland’s National Tourist Board, Chris has been invited to speak at a number conferences on subjects ranging from tourism performance, consumer behaviour and visioning the future of Scottish Tourism; he has authored a number of publications on tourism topics including exchange rates, wellness tourism, sustainable mobility and tourism trajectories.

Chris will join us for Workshop 1, Session 2 on Wednesday 25th November 2.30pm to give you insights into……….

Adventure tourism global and domestic trends and the importance of the sector to Scotland and the importance of the UK domestic market in a COVID world.

Alistair Danter, Project Manager Skye Connect

Alistair moved to Skye in 1998, renovated his croft house and 2 stone buildings that are now run as self catering properties. He worked for Highland Council practicing Economic Development from 2002 – 2018. Prior to living on Skye he worked in a number of developing countries in Africa running rural development projects. Alistair is Project Manager for Skye Connect, the tourism management organisation tasked with the job of developing the tourism industry and helping local businesses provide a better service. Skye Connected is a weekly show on Wednesdays at 4.00pm which features Alistair and Catriona McLean chatting about tourism issues in the area.

Alistair will join us for Workshop 1, Session 2 on Wednesday 25th November 2.30pm to give the Skye participants an insight into……….

The activities of Skye Connect and the opportunities for Skye post COVID-19 for the Adventure Tourism Sector.

Wednesday 9th December

Jim Eccleston / Duncan Stewart, 56 Degree Insight

56 Degree Insight defines who we are and where we come from. Our home turf, the Edinburgh area, sits on the 56 Degree North line of latitude and we provide precise direction and insights looking at your business issues from every possible angle. We don’t work for our clients, we work with them, integrating ourselves in their business to become an extension of their team. The two Directors – Jim Eccleston and Duncan Stewart – have over 50 years’ combined market research experience – both client-side and agency-side. As a result, we have amassed a wealth of expertise across a large range of business sectors: tourism, travel, the natural environment, energy, sport and recreation, culture, food & drink and the Scottish consumer landscape.

Jim & Duncan will join us for Workshop 1, Session 3 on Wednesday 9th December 2.30pm to give you insights into……….

The key findings of  The Scottish Tourism Index – Monitoring the Views of Scots about Holidays and Leisure during the COVID-19 Pandemic and the opportunities for the Adventure Tourism Sector.

Peter Syme, Managing Director, Disrupt Travel

Peter is a world-wandering nomad having lived and operated in many countries and visited in excess of 120. He is obsessed with adventure travel and the benefits it brings to people. He splits his time between being the owner-operator of several small niche adventure travel companies and helping travel startups and presenting to various Business Schools on Digital Transformation. Peter is passionate about long difficult expeditions and has twice crossed over 1000 miles of the Gobi Desert on foot.

Peter will join us for workshop 1, Session 3 on Wednesday 9th December to give you insights into……….

Finding a route to recovery for Adventure Tourism post COVID and a way forward for Adventure Tourism

Wednesday 6th January 2021

Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Industry Manager ( Development), VisitScotland

Patrick has had several roles in VisitScotland and now works with industry to develop their ability to deliver business growth through Digital. It’s about simple practical adoptions rather than the newest shiniest thing – technology and the internet can be harnessed to make your life easier and at the same time get you new customers and grow your business.

Patrick will join us for workshop 2 Session 1 on Wednesday 6th January to give you insights into……….

Digital Marketing Fundamentals… being Visible in Those Right Moments

Chris Torres, Founder, Tourism Marketing Agency

Chris is a Brand and Digital Tourism expert with over 26 years’ industry knowledge and speaks at many tourism events worldwide, offering his advice and guidance on how travel, tourism and destination businesses can gain brand recognition and increase bookings. Chris has focused his business, Tourism Marketing Agency, on tourism and destination marketing with over 80% of his client base coming from outside the UK, where he is based, working with some of the biggest players in the industry including Gray Line, the oldest and largest sightseeing company on planet earth. This knowledge on international markets gives Chris unique insights into how destination businesses should market themselves internationally. Chris has also written ‘How to Turn your Online Lookers into Bookers’: the first ever marketing book dedicated to helping tour and activity companies improve their website, their performance on Google, and their social media engagement.

Chris will be joining us on Wednesday 6th January to give you insights into……….

The benefits of having a digital marketing plan and how to implement.

Wednesday 20th January 2021

Lesley Judge, Project Manager at Traveltech for Scotland & Sector Engagement for Tourism, Interface

Lesley Judge is a tourism specialist with over twenty years in the industry, developing digital and data-driven strategies and projects, working with organisations including the Destination Leaders Programme, Love Loch Lomond, Jacobite Experience Loch Ness and ASVA. Lesley project-manages the Traveltech for Scotland Cluster (launched August 2020) in addition to developing tourism sector engagement for Interface, matching businesses with academic expertise. Lesley is a board member of Women in Tourism, leading on digital communications, assisting with event delivery, and supporting tourism and hospitality colleagues. A Chapter Leader of global travel network Travel Massive, together with her industry colleagues, they have built a 700+ community for the Edinburgh chapter.

Andrew Craig, Industry Development Manager (Digital), VisitScotland

Andrew Craig is VisitScotland’s Industry Development Manager for Digital and is responsible for maintaining relations between VisitScotland, booking systems and OTAs. He has been involved in online bookings and increasing digital participation in Scottish tourism for over 10 years.

Andrew will be joining us on Wednesday 20th January to give you insights into……….

The benefits of having how to make our business discoverable on-line.

Wednesday 10th February 2021

Helen Lavery, Regional Engagement Manager, Zero Waste Scotland

Helen Lavery is Regional Engagement Manager with Zero Waste Scotland, covering the Highlands and Islands region. Her role is focused on developing a more circular economy for the Highlands and Islands region, working in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. She has over 8 years experience working with businesses, social enterprises and communities across the region (in various roles) supporting them to grow and become more resilient.

Chief Executive Officer at Green Business

Andrea Nicholas is a Sustainable Tourism Certification expert with over 20 years experience the field. Co-founderand MD of World leading Green Tourism certification programme with 2500+ businesses participating acrossU.K., Canada and Africa.

Wednesday 17th February and 3rd March 2021

Yvonne Wagon, Director, White Stag Tourism

Yvonne Wagoun is a bilingual (German/English) Business Development Professional with over 25 years experience in all areas of UK inbound and international tour operation with specialisation in product and key account management based on thorough analysis and evaluation of the market.  She has worked with some of the big names in tourism such as Hotelbeds (part of TUI Travel) and Rabbie’s Small Group Tours.