‘We Bought a Zoo’ author confirmed for British Tourism & Travel Show

Director of Dartmoor Zoo, Benjamin Mee joins Keynote line-up

Returning to the NEC Birmingham on 22-23 March, British Tourism & Travel Show will feature an exclusive Keynote from Benjamin Mee, author of the bestselling book and inspiration for the Hollywood blockbuster We Bought A Zoo.

Delivering his session at 1pm on 22 March, Benjamin Mee joins the show’s seminar line-up, which already includes TV presenter Julia Bradbury and Travelzoo’s UK MD Joel Brandon-Bravo.

Credited for his inspirational story, Benjamin Mee and his family learned that Dartmoor Zoo would be closed and the vast majority of the animals destroyed if a buyer couldn't be found. After taking over the [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"3145","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright size-medium wp-image-5443","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"300","height":"187","alt":"benjaminMee"}}]]zoo in 2006, Mee soon found himself with an uphill battle, juggling the complexities of managing a zoo and getting it ready for opening, while facing the consequences of his wife's terminal illness and caring for his two children.

After a crowdfund, which took place at the end of 2014, the zoo completed the conversion into a charity and since then has been accredited for its excellence in education, research and conservation. In 2011 the zoo was awarded Eden Channel's Top Wildlife Attraction of the Year, and became the subject of a Hollywood movie starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.

Mee will be sharing his experience of buying a zoo, and overcoming obstacles, whilst discussing the key principles to delivering a great visitor experience in his session ‘Overcoming the unforeseen’.

Full timings and seminar summaries are available at www.tourismshow.co.uk/education.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"3146","attributes":{"class":"media-image aligncenter size-medium wp-image-5444","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"300","height":"152","alt":"GTO_Day"}}]]

Group Travel Organiser Day announced

Taking place on the second day of the show (Thursday, 23 March), GTO Day will shine a light on Group Travel Organisers who create exciting and engaging itineraries for the groups that they serve. Alongside exclusive sessions, there will be 260 leading exhibitors including visitor attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, associations and DMOs for group travel organisers to explore.

Highlights include the Association of Group Travel Organisers panel session – kicking off the day with a lively debate into current issues and challenges effecting GTOs.

This session is exclusively for GTOs and visitors will need to book in advance to attend. Please contact the show’s marketing manager Caroline Bissell on cbissell@divcom.co.uk  for more details.

The British Coach Tourism Awards – last call for entries

Due to popular demand, the deadline for The British Coach Tourism Award entries has been extended until Friday 13 January. Coinciding with the show, the awards (previously known as the National Coach Tourism Awards) recognise excellence and innovations across the coach tourism sector, including operators, destinations, visitor attractions and tourism suppliers. The awards will launch on Wednesday 22 March, after the first day of the show, at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

For more information and to submit an entry, please visit www.britishcoachawards.co.uk.

Free visitor registration now open

British Tourism and Travel Show will return to the NEC Birmingham on the 22-23 March 2017. For more information and to register for a free ticket, please visit www.tourismshow.co.uk and use priority code BTTS1 (direct link: https://registration.n200.com/survey/3merbygtnzi4j?actioncode=BTTS1.