More than 60 event professionals were welcomed to Manchester for the two-day annual debate, which took place from 9-10 March and focused on ‘Industry Disruptors and Adapting to Change.’ The debate kicked off with a session from keynote speaker and journalist David Eades, presenter of BBC World News and BBC Radio 4 'The World Tonight’.
Eades explored the impact of disruptors from his perspective as a frontline correspondent, including security challenges at the London Olympics and the introduction of robot news readers in Japan as a disruptive trend in his sector. He highlighted the importance of the ‘human touch’ to provide a level of stability in the face of disruptive trends.
The theme of the ‘human touch’ was picked up by numerous speakers throughout the two-day event. In a session sponsored by Levy Restaurants UK, John Guthrie from the British Hospitality Association discussed an industry-wide overview of the potential impact of Brexit on human capital for the industry, highlighting the importance of educating the next generation of ‘tweenagers’ as to the benefits of a career in hospitality.
Other highlights from the debate included an interactive icebreaker quiz by Green Hat People and a three-course formal dinner at Manchester Town Hall themed around ‘Manchester – European City of Science.’ The dinner included a presentation from Manchester Ambassador, Vicky Rosin OBE, Program Director, EuroScience Open Forum 2016.
Lesley Williams, ICCA UK and Ireland Chapter chair and head of business tourism at Marketing Edinburgh, said: "Manchester Central was an incredible venue in an incredible city to host this year’s annual debate. We had chosen to focus on a very relevant topic and every speaker gave an educational insight into how these disruptive trends are influencing the event industry so there was a lot to learn and take in for all of our attendees."
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