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VEE Visitor Economy Conference 2022 – Agenda

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Welcome to the Visit East of England Visitor Economy Conference 2022, with Skills, Sustainability, Placemaking and Collaborative Working as its themes. Why? The first two will help us develop a year-round sector in the years to come. The third one is about how we project ourselves to everyone else.

As we write in the Destination Development Plan that you will see later: ‘Tourism can only thrive with successful destinations. The region’s tourism sector is in every local authority and happens every single day. It is place-based.’ And the fourth? Well, that’s obvious. Unless we work together, we won’t maximise our potential!

Today is fast-paced, and hopefully entertaining, informative and educational. Oh, and there’s networking. Lots of it.

You’ll take out of it what you put in – get involved, ask questions, engage in the debates. Most of all, enjoy!


8.45-9.30am Reception and networking. Hello! If you’re reading this, it means you’ve signed in! Congratulations! Make sure you put your name tag on so everyone knows who you are. No anonymity today, please. Get a tea or coffee, have a snack, go meet!

Oh, and don’t forget to come and have a chat with the Visit East of England team. That’s us, above: (left to right) Data Steward Ric Burrage; Partnership Manager and Visit Suffolk Brand Manager Helen Cutting; Business Development Executive Laura Munnings; Admin and Web Executive Holly Oakland and Executive Director Pete Waters. We’re a friendly bunch!

Speaker and presenter biographies here

9.30-9.45am Welcome by Pete Waters, Visit East of England Executive Director (theatre) – Pete will give us an overview of the day and what VEE and the visitor economy stakeholders are looking to achieve.


You’ll know where you’re going by the coloured dots on your badge and there’ll be staff around to help direct you.

Today’s workshops are supported by VENI and the European Social Fund.

9.50-10.35am Workshop 1

‘Training and developing people to be the best they can be’ with Sophie Jeffrey, Group Training and Development Manager, and David Scott, CEO, Hotel Folk

‘Introduction To Experiential Tourism’ with Chris Brant, Founder & Experiential Tourism Expert at Unmissable England

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

10.40-11.25am Workshop 2

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

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

‘The commercial imperative for sustainability and ethical business practice’ with Richard Carter, Lecturer in Finance and Sustainability, West Suffolk College

11.25-midday Refreshments

Midday-12.45pmQ&A with all the presenters (theatre) – Get your questions ready! Our panel will include:
David Scott, CEO The Hotel Folk
Paul Stewart, Center Parcs Thetford Deputy Village Director
Andrew Wheeler, VEE Skills Group chairman
Richard Carter, Lecturer in Finance and Sustainability at West Suffolk College
Joe Mills, People, Relationship & Culture Transformer, Managing Director of The Tree Academy
Stephen Ramm, Energy Consultant, Conserve Energy
Chris Brant, Founder & Experiential Tourism Expert at Unmissable England

1-2pm Lunch The students from Chefs’ Whites at Suffolk New College will create a buffet lunch using local produce from suppliers including Anglia Produce, Cleveleys and Bidfood. Wine is supplied by Wines of Interest.


All afternoon presentations are in the theatre

2.10-2.30pm Welcome by Visit East of England Chairman Dr Andy Wood OBE on the importance of our collaborative working and how it will benefit the visitor economy

2.30-3pm New British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain/VisitEngland) Chairman Nick de Bois on the DMO Review, how the East can engage with national tourism bodies and what more we need to do

3-3.30pm UK Inbound CEO Joss Croft on establishing the region as a destination for tour operators and why we should do more to attract overseas visitors because of its export value to GB PLC

3.30-4pm Refreshments

4-4.30pm Bobby Burrage of Norwich agency The Click unveils the new ‘Naturally’ placemaking concept

4.30-5pm Christian Fry and Ann Steward of Waypoint Cinema on their work with Tom Hanks’ Playtone production company to develop a new Friendly Invasion cinema/conference centre and film to complement the upcoming Apple TV+ Masters of the Air mini-series

Speaker and presenter biographies here

Thank you for coming! Don’t forget to pick up your goodie bag as you leave, including the new Destination Development Plan.