13 May 2022

NI Tourism Conference

Tourism Conference 2022 – An Innovative and Sustainable Future

Friday 13th May, 09:30am – 2pm
Hall 2, ICC Belfast, Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3WH
Access via the Riverside Entrance 

This was an in-person, future focused conference to explore innovation and sustainability in the industry.

All presentations used during the day can be found on this page. Due to copyright, we are unable to share Dr Paul Redmond's presentation.

Alex Polizzi

We were joined by well known personality Alex Polizzi, Hotel Inspector and The Fixer, who is also a hotelier and businesswoman.


After reading English at Oxford University, Alex trained at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, worked for Marco Pierre White at the Criterion, helped open various Rocco Forte properties as the company began business and then set up Millers Bakery, with her husband Marcus Miller. 

The bakery is now a 70,000sq.ft operation supplying most of the five star hotels, restaurants and burger joints in London and across the country. 

Before taking over and stamping their mark on Hotel Endsleigh in 2004, Alex, Charlie and Olga Polizzi had already launched Hotel Tresanton at St Mawes in Cornwall in 1998.  

Alex then became the host of highly acclaimed show, The Hotel Inspector in 2008, and has now done 14 years as Hotel Inspector.

Johnnie Cole Hamilton

Johnnie began his career in golf administration in 1995 as Tournament Director at the PGA, before joining The R&A in the Rules Department in 1999. 

Eighteen months later he returned to Championship staging responsibilities and has since been involved in the running of over 20 Open Championships.

Johnnie was appointed as the Executive Director - Championships in 2012 and manages the team responsible for staging The Open. He also leads on R&A involvement at the AIG Women’s British Open and the Senior Open.

Sarah Travers

Our host was presenter Sarah Travers. Sarah is co-founder and director of Bespoke Communications, a leading training and professional development company serving the UK and Ireland.

Formerly a BBC news journalist and TV presenter, Sarah has a keen interest in stories and the people that shape them.

Sarah is a familiar face to many in Northern Ireland, where she was news anchor in the BBC newsroom for 17 years, covering high profile stories throughout the Northern Ireland peace process, and key events like the London 2012 Paralympics and BBC Children in Need. 

We  also heard from a range of expert speakers on topics affecting the future of the tourism industry including - 

Dr Paul Redmond

Paul is currently the Director of Student Experience and Enhancement at the University of Liverpool and one of the UK’s leading experts on the graduate employment market.


During his career he has worked at a number of leading universities and has been responsible for guiding the careers of thousands of students and graduates.

Paul’s research into ‘Generation Y’ (aka ‘Millennials’) and their impact on organisations has garnered him praise and respect from a range of national and international organisations, for which he provides consultancy.

Professor Xavier Font

Dr Xavier Font is professor of Sustainability Marketing at the University of Surrey, UK. He researches and develops methods of sustainable tourism production and consumption.


He has published widely about sustainable tourism certification, and has consulted widely on sustainable product development, marketing and communication.

He has conducted over 150 courses for more than 3000 businesses on how to market and communicate sustainability. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the University of Surrey for the €23m Interreg project Experience to develop low season sustainable tourism visitor experiences in the UK and France.

Tina O'Dwyer

Tina O’Dwyer is an active researcher and advocate of sustainable and responsible tourism. She is the founder and MD of The Tourism Space.


Tina O’Dwyer is a professionally certified coach, mentor, facilitator and MC working exclusively in tourism. She is the founder of The Tourism Space™, which hosts a range of professional development events including conferences, masterclass bootcamps, a leadership mastermind and an online membership network.  

Tina has been to the forefront of  sustainable approaches to tourism development in Ireland for more than a decade. She has extensively researched, implemented and evaluated approaches to sustainable and responsible tourism since 2011.  Through her award-winning work, she has demonstrated how sustainable and regenerative approaches to tourism can be made practical and palatable for tourism enterprises.

Representatives from Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland were available in the expo area, providing advice and information on upcoming plans. 

ICC Belfast