The Tourism Summit 2023 Speakers
This year's Summit is curated from a line-up of captivating and inspiring speakers who have extensive expertise and experience in hospitality and tourism.
These speakers are highly knowledgable individuals and have profound perspectives to ignite contemplation, conversations and transformation as we explore tourism for good together.
Geoff Holt MBE DLDirector of Wetwheels Solent CIC
Geoff became an inspiration to millions around the world first when he completed his ‘Personal Everest’ challenge by sailing 1,445 miles, solo, around Great Britain in a fragile 15-foot dinghy and again in 2009/10 when he captivated audiences around the globe with his arrival in Tortola at the helm of ‘Impossible Dream’ having sailed unassisted across the Atlantic.
Geoff is a disability sports ambassador who has inspired countless others. He has faced and overcome adversity, challenged limits and inspires others to adopt a positive attitude. Geoff’s personal philosophy of ‘no excuses’ lies at the heart of his story: motivating others to live life to the full and conquer challenges no matter what they may be. He hopes that his voyages will inspire others to push their own personal boundaries.
Geoff is the Director of Wetwheels Solent, the original regional operator for the national power boating charity Wetwheels Foundation.
Simon Numphud FIHManaging Director at AA Media Ltd
Simon has spent his entire career in the hospitality industry, from managing hotels and restaurants through to the last twenty-five years with AA Media. As Managing Director, he is responsible for both AA Hotel and Hospitality services and VisitEngland Assessment services. This includes the various AA and VisitEngland classification and award schemes which in total numbers over 8,000 hospitality businesses.
Wider industry involvement includes Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, Fellow of HOSPA, member of the South West Board of Hospitality Action and Ambassador, Room to Reward Ambassador and regular judge for various national hospitality awards. Simon is passionate about mentoring, having been a mentor for Oxford Brookes University hospitality management students, having studied hospitality there himself during his formative years.
Kalkidan Legesse MBASocial Entrepreneur and Founder of Sancho's & OWNI
Kalkidan Legesse, renowned marketing expert Drapers 30 under 30, Vogue Magazine 100 Innovator, Business Insider 42 under 42, and advocate for diversity and inclusion is a social entrepreneur who works to deliver scaling businesses that are environmentally sound and socially inclusive.
In a world facing climate change, failures of leaderships, and systematic inequity, Kalkidan is passionate about and advocates for intersectional environmentalism, anti-racism and effective social leadership.
Through her dynamic storytelling and thought-provoking examples, Kalkidan will empower you to challenge the status quo and think beyond stereotypes.
Kalkidan Legesse is an Associate with Devon Diversity Consultants specialising in business and inclusion.
Chris WoodfieldBetter Business and Futures Lead at Tyf Adventure
Chris is passionate about the importance of nature connection in facilitating transformational change for people and planet. He is the Co-Founder of Aber Food Surplus, a food systems change not-for-profit in Aberystwyth, West Wales and he’s recently finished facilitating a Future Leaders programme on the Low Carbon Devon project at the Sustainable Earth Institute at the University of Plymouth.
He’s excited about systems thinking, collaboration, regenerative leadership, and bold imagining to co-create the response needed to rise to the climate and nature challenge, is the B Corp Co-Chair for Wales and a Climate Fresk and Carbon Literacy facilitator.
Dr Natalie SemleySenior Lecturer in Sustainable Tourism Management at Falmouth University
Growing up in a traditional seaside resort on the North coast of Cornwall, Natalie Semley has a detailed understanding of the tourism industry. Her career path has taken many turns and her experience varies, from delivering visitor services to working in academia.
Natalie's engagement in industry and academia over the years has helped to establish her passion for, and understanding of the tourism industry. She has been recognised for her contribution by the Tourism Management Institute and is currently employed as a lecturer in Sustainable Tourism Management.
Prior to this appointment, Natalie worked as the Development Manager for Trenance Cottages Newquay – a registered charity who own and manage a heritage site in Newquay, Cornwall. This role involved marketing management, event feasibility and planning, fundraising, as well as engagement with public and private organisations and individuals – with the main aim to generate a sustainable income to 'keep the cottages alive' for generations to come.
Katri HastingsSustainability Consultant at Bioregional
Katri is a sustainability consultant at Bioregional who specialises on carbon and net zero. Bioregional is a value driven not for profit sustainability consultancy with two specialisms, Sustainable Business and Sustainable Places.
The business team supports organisations with net-zero carbon, as well as plan and implement an innovative sustainability strategy that covers all aspects of ESG. The Places team work with companies in the built environment and local government to create homes and communities that make it easy to live a sustainable lifestyle.
Katri’s work includes conducting corporate carbon footprints, modelling carbon reduction scenarios, generating carbon reduction action plans and sustainability strategies. Her experience is focused on retailers, the food and drink industry and real estate.
Caroline Benjamin MSOFHTDirector at Food Allergy Aware
Caroline founded Food Allergy Aware Ltd in 2013 to enable the food service business to understand and embrace the Food Hypersensitive (FHS) customer. We develop solutions to give businesses the tools, knowledge and expertise to not only manage allergen processes and the labelling regulations, but to take it to the next level and offer a positive customer journey for the FHS diner. In 2019 Caroline won the SOFHT ‘Company of the Year Award’
Caroline and colleague Sally Trice worked together to develop the resources for the RSPH level 2 Food Allergen Management Training, and has developed bespoke inhouse workshops for her clients appropriate to their operation.
Caroline has written various articles for many industry publications including Garden Centre Forum, and The Caterer, she has also spoken at various events on the topics of Food Allergen Awareness within the food service industry.
Caroline is currently working with Jacqui McPeake on the Near Miss Reporting Campaign, they formed Hospitality Allergen Support UK, to highlight the importance of managing hazards and risks specifically related to allergen management, and how Near Miss reporting and root cause analysis can ensure a safety for the FHS customer, and prevent a fatality from occurring check out via HASUK.co.uk
Neil WarrenCountryside Mobility Project Manager at Living Options
From work with regional tourist boards promoting sustainability to his current role with disability charity, Living Options, Neil’s career has been spent exploring how tourism can be a benefit rather than a burden. He’s even worked in Central Asia developing community based tourism.
His current role at Living Options focusses on the award-winning Countryside Mobility service which, each year, partners with outdoor attractions enabling thousands of locals and visitors to access beauty spots with friends and family.
He also supports the wider work of Living Options to support the visitor sector to achieve their desire to become more accessible, focusing on training, auditing, advice and the development of alternative format resources. Alongside his work with Living Options, Neil delivers videography, training and consultancy for the tourism sector as a freelancer.
Photo Credit: tomgphoto
Becky Craven is a professional photographer and marketing strategist who empowers entrepreneurs and businesses to build their brands, grow followers on social media and discover their path to profitability.
With a Master's degree in photography and a strong track record of creative and strategic delivery, Becky has more than two decades of experience helping businesses create compelling image-driven stories to market their work.
Her portfolio includes collaborations with global brands such as Nestle, BBC, Virgin, and Timberland, as well as boutique national brands like Unique Homestays, Chilly Bottles, Conker Gin, and Dorset Tea. With a focus on luxury rental properties and ethical food and drink producers, Becky has established herself as a trusted partner for hospitality, tourism, and interior design businesses. Her work often showcases the stunning South West as a must-visit destination.
As an accomplished speaker and educator, Becky has spoken at universities, public gatherings and corporate settings and her talks focus on the intersection of photography and marketing. She specialises in demystifying complex technical issues and making professional-grade photographs and videos accessible to everyone, often with just your smartphone.
Born and raised in Devon, Becky has also spent time supporting businesses in Sydney, Australia, and loves getting out on her surfboard whenever she gets the chance!
Steve CooperBusiness Development Specialist at Acronyms
Steve Cooper is a Business Development Specialist at IT support company Acronyms, where he specialises in the hospitality, leisure, and tourism sectors.
Originally from Kidderminster but with a history in hospitality, Steve packed the car with his beloved guitars (and his wife and son) and moved the family to Cornwall.
Steve now helps businesses leverage technology so they can emerge successfully from the recent difficulties experienced by those in tourism. He works alongside his clients to understand their challenges and provide them with cost-effective solutions that help them towards their long-term goals.
Working with clients across the sector, he’s seen first-hand the industry’s difficulties but also the opportunities waiting to be explored. He’s finding that cloud technology is allowing tourism businesses to push forward quickly, whilst being financially responsible and providing a positive customer experience.
Jamie VenterMedia and Production Manager at Soundview Media
Jamie’s keen eye for detail and attentiveness makes her perfect for organising Soundview's productions and media. As well as being an expert on Soundview Media's new server, she comes up with brilliant solutions to all production needs.
When it comes to Soundview’s sustainability journey, Jamie is the company’s guiding light. She monitors and records our carbon footprint, helping us towards our 2030 net zero target. She is also responsible for attaining the certification for our carbon neutral productions. As a person who has had to overcome barriers to access, Jamie is a champion of inclusion and diversity and is keen to implement practices to increase accessibility for all.
Gareth AllenFounder at Soundview Media
Gareth believes that a great story is best told responsibly. Through his illustrious career and a journalist, broadcaster and film-maker he's championed diversity and sustainability, and that commitment to putting people and planet first is ingrained in SoundView.
A passion for inclusion and innovation, means that SoundView has been an early adopter of immersive technologies, recognising their potential to reach and connect with diverse and underrepresented audiences.
He’s set a target for the business to reach net zero by 2030, working in partnership with SoundView’s clients to deliver Albert certified carbon neutral productions.
Pete StevensHead of Marketing at Clockwork Marketing
As the head of marketing at Clockwork Marketing, Pete’s responsibilities span all Clockwork’s unique clients. This includes overseeing their successes and ensuring every client receives exceptional service, the best marketing tools and creative thinking across all departments and projects.
Pete’s experience covers a variety of marketing roles within various service industries, spanning more than 20 years in both client-sided and agency positions. This includes high-end banks, government agencies, local authorities up and down the country, and numerous 4 and 5 star boutique and resort hotels. He regularly shares his insight with the industry at high-profile events.
Mark DurberMarketing Manager at Clockwork Marketing
Mark is a leading hospitality digital marketing expert specialising in Search Engine Optimisation and paid channels. He has experience working across numerous hospitality businesses, helping them to achieve excellent rankings in Google. As marketing manager for Clockwork Marketing, he is responsible for positioning Clockwork as the leading digital marketing agency for hospitality in the UK.
In 2022 he also was a key figure in launching an exciting new service called GuestNet. GuestNet builds on Clockwork Marketing’s 30 years of hospitality marketing. It empowers hospitality businesses to learn how to do hospitality digital marketing with helpful training videos, marketing templates and regular community group calls.