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Meet the Experts - Theatre Two

Our two Meet the Experts Theatres will be playing host to expert talks covering the different corners of the globe. Speakers will give you unique insight into their experiences and take you on fascinating and memorable journeys to inspire your next adventure. 

Click the individual sessions to reveal more about what you can expect.

To view the timetable for the Meet the Experts Theatre One click here


- 11:30am: Wanderlust Travel Awards

Speaker: Lyn Hughes, Editor-in-Chief & Founder, Wanderlust Magazine


- 12:30pm: New Zealand: Land of the Long White Cloud, the Hobbit and Scenic Wonders

A travelogue through the highlights of New Zealand

Speaker: John Lightwood, Director

Silver Fern Holidays

- 2:30pm: European food tours

Intrepid Travel’s food tours uncover authentic, mouth-watering gastronomic cultures designed to suit a range of budgets and time frames with bite-sized trips and gastronomic odysseys. By pairing the classic grassroots Intrepid travel style with a special food focus, their itineraries aim to really get you under the skin of the world's most exciting food cultures. It might be bottling your own wine in Spain, learning centuries old recipes over breakfast with a Jordanian shepherd or biking through a pistachio farm in Greece. Intrepid is keen to specifically talk about its European food tours which vary from well-known foodie destinations such as Southern Italy to the lesser recognised gastronomic cultures from Slovenia to the Balkans. The European food tours give access to experiences that wouldn't’t be accessible whilst travelling independently such as visiting local producers and eating with locals. They also open up new experiences that aren’t widely promoted from exploring Slovenia’s honey production where there are over 9,000 beekeepers to sampling Macedonia’s wines or a farmstay in Portugal’s Alentejo region. 

Speaker: TBC

Intrepid Travel

- 3:30pm: Visiting South Africa's historic battlefields

South Africa is a country whose history is defined by its many conflicts - those between Britain and the Xhosa & Zulu nations - between the British and the Afrikaner Boers - and between the Boers and the Zulu. This talk will bring some of the most famous battles to life, together with giving practical tips on how to make the most of a trip to the South African battlefields.

Speaker: Claire Farley - managing director, 2by2 Holidays

2by2 Holidays

- 10:30am: Sri Lanka - One Island with many trips

Discover why Sri Lanka is so fascinating. Sri Lanka offers so much for visitors of all kind. In this talk you will learn about great diverse of wildlife, fascinating and rich ancient history with 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, colourful culture, intriguing colonial heritage, lush tropical nature, mouth watering food and golden sandy beaches. Whether you would like wildlife spotting or hiking in the tea mountains or climbing Adams Peak or lounging in the golden sandy beaches or discovering the ancient cities or exploring the rainforest, Sri Lanka has it all.

Speaker: Aleem Raheem

The Earth Trip

- 11:30am: Croatia cruising - The hot ticket for 2018

If you had to design somewhere ideal for relaxed small-ship cruising, Croatia would probably be it. Small, historic and picturesque towns set on dozens of islands with hundreds of small bays surrounded by a warm blue sea. And this is not somewhere to come if you want to lose weight - The food, very localised, is copious and utterly delicious and can usually be washed down with wine produced within 5 miles to complement the local cheeses and olives. Come and hear why it is the hot ticket for 2018.

Speaker: Powell Ettinger - MD The Small Cruise Ship Collection

The Small Cruise Ship Collection

- 12:30pm: National Geographic Traveller


Speaker: Travel Geeks Panel

National Geographic Traveller

- 1:30pm: Seeing The World As a Single Traveller

Jan Leeming will be speaking about what it is like to travel the world as a single traveller and talk about her recent experiences of single travelling in Croatia, Burma, Peru, Tuscany and Canada. She will also be speaking about her travels for work, when she was with the BBC and also her experiences in India and Cuba with BBC2’s Real Marigold Hotel. It will be an inspirational talk encouraging single travellers to get out there and enjoy a great adventure.

Speaker: Jan Leeming - broadcaster, actor, and TV presenter

Just You

- 2:30pm: Wanderlust

Speaker: Wanderlust Magazine


- 4:00pm: Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year Awards

Speaker: Lyn Hughes, Editor-in-Chief & Founder, Wanderlust Magazine


- 10:30am: Getting to Machu Picchu

A lot has changed this year with the Peruvian government releasing Inca Trek permits early and changing the opening times of Machu Picchu. This talk will cover the different routes for reaching the site and how to make the most of your time there.

Speaker: Owen Denton - Head of Operations

Tucan Travel

- 12:30pm: Wildlife photography

Speaker: Paul Goldstein

- 1:30pm: The Great Barrier Reef – the inside story - in association with Austravel

Brought to you by Tourism and Events Queensland, in partnership with tailor-made Australasia

experts, Austravel. Through a live video conferencing link the audience will have the opportunity to learn more about Australia’s greatest natural asset, the Great Barrier Reef and our aim is to provide them with the chance to learn more about it, ask any questions they might have and equip them with the balanced facts about the health of the GBR and the role that tourism plays: The Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure ever built by living things – and the only one visible from outer space, which astronauts say defies description. Unlike Australia’s propensity for man-made big things – the Big Pineapple, Big Prawn, Big Beer Can, Big Banana . . . the reef is the work of billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. The Great Barrier Reef is often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world stretching 2300km along the Queensland coastline – bigger than 69 million football fields in size and around 6% of the marine park is coral. Around 80% of all tourism activity occurs within just 7% of the GBR region and all commercial and recreational activities are regulated by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Some of you may have seen a Deloitte’s report released in June commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation on the “Economic, social and icon value of the Great Barrier Reef”. It found the Great Barrier Reef contributes 6.4 billion to the Australian economy and supports 64,000 jobs. Of which Tourism in the GBR marine park adds 5.7 billion in economic value and supports almost 59,000 jobs. This report is a valuable addition to the current discussions around the Reef and its challenges. As an ecosystem, as an economic driver, as a global treasure, it underlines how critical it is to protect the Reef for generations to come. The impact of two consecutive bleaching events and Cyclone Debbie means there are a number of areas of the reef where corals and coral reefs have been impacted and our experts today can talk to you about what this means and what is being done.

Speaker: Fred Nucifora, A/Director Tourism and Stewardship - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park & Authority Andy Ridley, CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef - (TBC) as well as a diver broadcasting live from an underwater reef environment at Reef HQ i


- 2:30pm: Wrangel Island: Voyage of a Lifetime

Join Wildlife Worldwide founder Chris Breen to share his recent ‘voyage of a lifetime’ exploring the remote wilderness of Russia’s Wrangel Island located on the roof of the world. Chris will share his images and stories including encounters with polar bears, whales and the people of this remote corner of the earth.

Speaker: Chris Breen, Founder Wildlife Worldwide

Wildlife Worldwide

- 3:30pm: And the family came too... Simon Mayo in the Land of Fire & Ice

Having declared their intention to choose Iceland as their summer holiday, Radio 2’s Drivetime DJ Simon Mayo and his wife Hilary found their grown up family decided they wanted to come too. Join their road trip to North and West Iceland where the only things likely to hold you up are spectacular views of mountains, waterfalls and icecaps. Simon describes his journey, from the North Iceland port of Akureyri to the capital Reykjavik, delving inside glaciers and volcanoes and revealing why Iceland is Europe’s ultimate adventure playground for all the family.

Speaker: Radio DJ Simon Mayo

Discover The World

- 10:30am: Celebrate Swaziland’s 50/50 in 2018

Swaziland is a nation that knows how to party! With ancient ceremonies involving tens of thousands in traditional dress still celebrated and modern-day arts festivals that rank amongst the best in the world, this is one of the best countries in Africa for true cultural experiences. 2018 looks set to top them all as the country celebrates 50 years of independence at the same time as the King celebrates his 50th birthday. Swaziland embodies the essence of Africa in a small yet diverse destination. As well as its rich culture, it has stunning scenery, and thrilling wildlife experiences. More and more tour operators are now offering Swaziland trips to discover authentic Africa, as it emerges form the shadows of its big neighbors.

Speaker: Jenny Bowen

Swaziland Tourism

- 11:30am: The 24 Portuguese (and former Portuguese) islands of the Atlantic

These four archipelagos are linked by their Portuguese heritage, but have taken different routes to prosperity. The Azores and Madeira are very much part of Europe, where as the islands of Cape Verde and Sao Tome have followed their African heritage. Each is striving to create a niche in which to prosper and Ian Coates (MD of Archipelago Choice) will talk about the uniqueness of these islands and why they are worth further exploration.


Speaker: Ian Coates - Managing Director

Archipelago Choice

- 12:30pm: The Smallest Ship in the Fleet

Dave will be discussing his experience of waterbiking down the Norwegian Coast from Kirkenes to Bergen, following the route of Hurtigruten’s ships. 

Speaker: Dave Cornthwaite - Adventurer


- 1:30pm: An Introduction to Astrotourism: Chasing Eclipses and other Celestial Wonders

In the past decade it has become popular to compile ‘bucket lists’ – those checklists of places we should visit, or experiences we would like to enjoy, during our lifetime. While the content of those lists varies, chasing solar eclipses is invariably up there! And as the next total eclipse visible from the UK occurs in 2090, those that want to witness one for themselves will need to travel to see it! Eclipses can occur anywhere around the globe and not always on well-trodden tourist trails… so travellers often find themselves in remote, unusual and exciting places where few tourists ever set foot! However, if you can’t wait for Chile in 2019, or Argentina in 2020, there are other celestial phenomena that are well worth organising your holiday around. As well as the upcoming options for viewing a total solar eclipse, Naturetrek’s astronomy expert David Phillips describes the drama of journeying north to the Arctic Circle to witness dynamic displays of the Northern Lights, and heading south to safari by day and star-gaze by night, under the famously dark Namibian skies.

Speaker: David Phillips - Operations & Astronomy Tour Manager, Naturetrek


- 3:30pm: Haiti: The Hidden Caribbean

Haiti was one of the original innovators in developing the Caribbean as a travel destination, but recent decades have seen the nation lost in the tourism wilderness. Today, the country is emerging from behind once-bad headlines to claim its stake as an emerging destination, with a with a spectacular offering for visitors. In the mountaintop Citadelle it has the biggest and most spectacular fortress in the America, along with the region's most notable visual arts scene, a rich food culture, hiking, whale watching and all the white beaches you could wish for. Learn more about the real land of Vodou, and discover why Haiti is one of the most surprising and compelling of Caribbean destinations.

Speaker: Paul Clammer - Guidebook author

Bradt Travel Guides