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VEE Visitor Economy Conference 2022 – Book your Workshop Sessions

Visit East of England hosts its first Visitor Economy Conference at The Hold, Ipswich on Wednesday, November 2.

Themes for the day are Skills, Sustainability, Placemaking and Collaborative Working. There are two sessions, each with three workshops to choose from. Read on for more details and to book your place:


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Session 1

Introduction To Experiential Tourism
Chris Brant – Founder & Experiential Tourism Expert, Unmissable England

With 20 years’ experience working in sustainable tourism and marketing, Chris Brant from Unmissable England will host this workshop to help businesses develop unmissable experiences. Chris is the founder of Unmissable England ( a booking platform and website with a unique collection of authentic experiences developed and hosted by small to medium sized tourism businesses from Cumbria to Cornwall. Unmissable England targets consumers in the UK, North America and Northern Europe.

Develop your businesses – A whole energy approach
Stephen Ramm – Energy Consultant, Conserve Energy

Before any business considers taking action to reduce costs or to invest in technology, they must first fully understand their current position. Energy consultant Stephen Ramm will help you get a better understanding of the many different aspects of energy use and supply to enable your business to review or create your own Whole Energy strategy.

Conserve Energy was formed to help clients navigate the growing diversity within the energy industry.  Options for both supply, generation, use and storage of power on site are increasing every day and we enjoy helping clients develop site specific strategies, that help reduce costs and their impact on the environment.  Our 30 years of hands-on industry experience, over 5000 installations to date and current involvement in around 1 GW of renewable projects allows us to bring a unique perspective to most energy related problems and developments.

Training and developing people to be the best they can be
Sophie Jeffrey – Group Training and Development Manager, Hotel Folk

Sophie Jeffrey, Group Training and Development Manager at The Hotel Folk, responsible for the training and development of all staff working at six hotels in Suffolk, will show us how put Training and Development at the heart of your organisation’s strategy.

Session 2

Environmental Principles and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Techniques
Richard Carter – Lecturer in Finance and Sustainability, West Suffolk College

This workshop will cover two key aspects. Firstly, we will introduce the framework of environmental boundaries that sustainability professionals need to understand and work towards. After that, we will discuss two approaches that that can be used to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The principles that we’ll cover are applicable to any business, from manufacturing to service companies, and will be discussed at a level suitable for those relatively new to environmental management.

The workshop will conclude by offering guidance on next steps that are available to those wishing to develop their knowledge and experience further.

Being Human: Why We Need to Stop Just Moving the Deckchairs
Joe Mills – People, Relationship & Culture Transformer – Managing Director of The Tree Academy

People, Relationship and Culture Transformer, managing director of The Tree Academy, Joe Mills will help you harness your understanding of what it means to be human – enabling the creation of environments people want to work in and ultimately placing our organisations in stronger positions to adapt and thrive.

In 2019 Joe founded The Tree Academy for a specific purpose: to partner organisations who genuinely believe in their people and need unique and evolving Learning and Development solutions to reflect the world we live in now. Joe has dedicated her career to understanding the elusive and shifting strands of what it means to be human; using her specialist insights to help people lead more fulfilling lives, become better leaders, create strong teams and mend bruised ones, build environments people want to work in and run more successful organisations.  With over 25 years in the ‘people sphere’, she has gained a formidable depth of knowledge, range of experience and powerfully broad perspectives.

A Skills Academy for the Visitor Economy
Andrew Wheeler – Chairman VEE Visitor Economy Skills Group and Executive Director Curriculum Initiatives, West Suffolk College

Andrew’s workshop is about the potential of a tourism skills academy in the region.

Visit East of England and further education establishments are committed to setting up a Skills Academy for the region. Preparatory work has already begun and the aspiration for a Skills Academy has been encapsulated in a Skills Academy Manifesto, to be found in the new Destination Development Plan.  We see this as an opportunity to set a new agenda for tourism, hospitality and visitor economy skills – and an opportunity to encourage collaboration across colleges in the region.

Andrew became an FE lecturer in the 1980s and then moved into tourism in the 1990s, managing a major tourism attraction, creating a group travel marketing company and later in the 90s heading up a local authority tourism department. Andrew also completed an MBA at this time – specialising in business planning for tourism.  From 2000 Andrew capitalised on his funding knowledge and bid ‘know-how’ creating a funding consultancy which he ran until 2012.  Going back into FE in 2013, Andrew has lectured across further and higher education at West Suffolk College before creating a framework called PLACE 21 which has become a delivery vehicle for ‘skills convergence’ – the idea of bringing the classroom closer to the world of work and vice versa.