March 2024

Travel conference flies high with esteemed speaker Simon Calder

By Carrie Mok

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The ninth annual ITT Future You conference was packed with enthusiastic students, all keen to take in knowledge and insights from experts across travel, tourism and hospitality.

Held at University College Birmingham, which is an Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Centre of Excellence for its degree and college courses, host Clair Steiner, Chair of ITT - The Institute of Travel & Tourism Education and Training Committee helmed the conference and introduced the day’s speakers.

The day began with AbdulMaalik Tailor, CEO and Director of Halal Tourism Britain, who discussed the history of Muslims in Britain and the many attractions that halal tourists can visit across the country followed by Louie Davis, Senior Strategy Manager at easyJet holidays who explored his own career and key lessons learned working in the travel and tourism industry.

AbdulMaalik Tailor said: “I was delighted to have been invited to the ITT Future You Conference 2024 and to have been given the opportunity to speak about halal tourism in Britain. I met fellow great speakers and students who were interested in my entrepreneurial journey in travel and Britain’s diversity travel in halal tourism. It was great to discover how University College Birmingham were preparing students for the future in travel!”

With one in every ten jobs globally in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries, conference speakers provided insight into the skills needed for the future workforce, exciting trends, opportunities and the future of the sector.

An alumni panel saw Charlie Hobbis, Social Media Agency Director, OAC Marketing; Tom Hall, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Gloucestershire; Hayley Phipps, Future Leader Graduate, British Airways; and Olivia Lori Iglesias Ucendo, Social Media Assistant, European Parliament answer questions from the eager audience on sustainability, the skills they’ve learned and starting a business. 

Respected travel journalist Simon Calder delivered a keynote speech and answered questions from our student panel on topics including AI and technology, how the travel sector has changed over the years, how travellers can help the communities they are visiting and how to gain work experience in the industry.

“For our 9th ITT Future You Conference, this year we were delighted to be joined by arguably the most trusted travel expert and journalist in the UK, Simon Calder, as well as welcoming speakers from EasyJet Holidays, Halal Tourism Britain, and student alumni from British Airways, the European Parliament, University of Gloucester and OAC Creative Marketing Agency.

"The conference's theme is employability, and the aim is to provide students with personal insights, advice and tips on developing a career," said Richard Behan, Deputy Head of Department of Hospitality & Tourism at University College Birmingham.

"In an increasingly competitive job market, giving our students the opportunity to hear, learn, and network with a diverse range of industry professionals is essential to help nurture and shape the next generation of talent to thrive in today's dynamic landscape."

Richard Behan Deputy Head of Department of Hospitality & Tourism

University College Birmingham has invested £180 million into its campus and training facilities, which includes a state-of-the-art mock plane cabin. Find out more about courses within the Department of Hospitality and Tourism.  

In pictures: The 9th annual ITT Future You conference

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