The fourth event in our "HeART of the Matter" speaker and discussion series

As more and more tourists are drawn to our special places, what does that mean for the people who live there?

And if locals aren’t involved by the tourism sector, will their welcome and hospitality have limits?

These questions and more were discussed at this event which explored in detail the importance of engaging local communities in tourism strategies.  It offered an opportunity for tourism sector professionals, local authorities, tourism businesses and community representatives to learn from best practice and be part of the discussion about this vital issue for tourism’s future.


Anna Pollock, founder of Conscious Travel. Business-woman, researcher and future strategist serving the international tourism and hospitality sector. Anna has been a keynote speaker for the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, the Pacific Asia Travel Association and numerous regional and sector associations.

Dr Brendan Paddison, Senior Lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Studies, York Business School at York St John University. Brendan is an expert on community advocacy and engagement in tourism strategy, and leads the international Heritage and Arts Visitor Research Collaborative (HAVRC).

Michelle Gorman, Managing Director of Visit County Durham, leading the development, marketing and promotion of tourism across County Durham. Michelle works closely with Visit England, Visit Britain and a wide range of public and private sector partners.