Belfast to host world's top travel influencers at global summit

Belfast will be in the social media spotlight later this year as more than 50 of the world's top travel influencers and tourism industry leaders gather in the city for a two-day summit focused on travel marketing.

Following the award-winning success of the 2016 conference held in Inverness, the Social Travel Summit will return to the UK in September. Britain's national tourism organisation VisitBritain is sponsoring the summit, to promote the UK internationally, along with support from Tourism Northern Ireland (NI).

Now in its fifth year, the Social Travel Summit is one of the leading global conferences for professional travel influencers. Organised by travel influencer network iambassador, the summit gives world-class travel influencers and tourism industry leaders the opportunity to brainstorm innovative approaches to digital marketing, as well to learn about the latest trends and insights in digital marketing and its influence on travel.


The two-day conference includes keynotes by industry experts, panel and roundtable discussions, and ample networking opportunities.

Emma Mead, Head of Global PR at VisitBritain/VisitEngland, said:

"We know the powerful role that social media plays in promoting the UK to overseas visitors so we're thrilled to be working in partnership with iambassador again to build on the success of the 2016 conference.

"We are looking forward to shining the spotlight on the UK's vibrant cities, breath-taking countryside, innovative food and drink scene and rich cultural heritage, to inspire influencers to share their stories globally and get more overseas visitors booking a trip to the UK."

VisitBritain hosted the event in 2016, which saw more than 110 delegates from 25 countries attend the global summit in Inverness, Scotland. The summit and post-conference trips across Britain resulted in more than 400 images, 135 blog posts and more than 3,500 social posts being shared online, reaching millions worldwide.

As part of the summit, the leading travel influencers will undertake trips across the UK to showcase the variety of experiences on offer. Individual itineraries will be planned with destination partners to promote the UK to international visitors – with trips themed around the passions that motivate travel. The tours will shine the spotlight on unexpected experiences and less-explored destinations, alongside globally renowned and iconic landmarks and attractions – aligning with VisitBritain's new global campaign, I Travel For.

iambassador Chief Executive Keith Jenkins said:

"We're very excited to bring the Social Travel Summit back to the UK in 2018, this time to Belfast! We're looking to build on the award-winning success of #STSInverness 2016 by working together with our partners VisitBritain and Tourism NI to raise the bar yet again.

"With many innovative marketing concepts borne out of the thought leadership sessions and networking opportunities, the summit has greatly raised the level of understanding of digital marketing in travel – since the conference began in 2014."

Welcoming the announcement that the Social Travel Summit will be held in Belfast in September, Chief Executive of Tourism NI John McGrillen, commented:

"Social and digital media play an integral role in the international marketing of Northern Ireland's thriving tourism industry. Securing the hosting rights of the Social Travel Summit presents a unique opportunity to tap into the significant influence of the world's leading travel bloggers. The high level discussions about the future of online travel marketing will provide invaluable insight for the local industry as we aim to attract more out-of-state visitors to Northern Ireland than ever before."

Social media is at the heart of VisitBritain's global marketing campaign 'I Travel For...' based on its global research into motivations, passions and inspiration for travel including adventure, fun, relaxation, discovery, culture, food and drink and the unexpected. Research by VisitBritain shows the influence social media has in positioning the UK as a destination of choice for international visitors, offering unparalleled opportunities to engage directly with potential visitors in a timely way, with the right messages, demonstrating an understanding of their world and motivations for travel.

UK travel and tourism businesses including tour operators, destination management organisations and digital marketers or travel industry representatives interested in attending the Social Travel Summit, which takes place from Tuesday 25 to Wednesday 26 September in Belfast, can find out more at

Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.

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