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What’s on the menu at Hospitality Exchange 2016?

Two star Michelin chef and Great British Menu judge Daniel Clifford.

This year’s Hospitality Exchange 2016 in Ramada Plaza, Belfast on the 18 and 19 October is set to serve up business insight, inspirational speakers and actionable ideas for those working in the hospitality sector.

Janice Gault, chief executive, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, discusses the conference programme which is complemented by a boutique trade exhibition: “We have a fast-paced programme of activity at Hospitality Exchange 2016. On 18 October 2016, there is the return of the ever popular chef kitchen. Service is a focal point in the industry and to share some insights with over 30 years’ experience as editor of the Michelin Guide, we’ve Derek Bulmer. In the kitchen will be two star Michelin chef and Great British Menu judge, Daniel Clifford who will be joined by Chef Erik Van der Veken, master chocolatier and pastry expert.

“After lunch it’s a marketing Masterclass with Prof. Robert Kwortnik from the internationally acclaimed Cornell, School of Hospitality. This tailored session will look at how to blend your marketing message, target your ideal customer and utilise your unique assets to attract visitors.”

Janice continues: “On 19 October 2016, it’s down to business with breakfast insights from Brian Gillan of First Trust Bank who will be joined by Tom Barrett of Savills and Sarah Duignan of STR. This trio will explore the current economic and business climate, examine the broader challenges and opportunities presented in a post Brexit Northern Ireland while outlining the sector’s current performance levels”.

Economy will remain on the agenda in the afternoon with analysis from the Economic Policy Centre at Ulster University. Gareth Hetherington from the Centre will examine the critical role the industry has to play in rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy. Of course no conference would be complete without conversation and debate. Attracting the visitor and promoting Northern Ireland will be the focus of the conversation between John McGrillen, Chief Executive, Tourism Northern Ireland and Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland.

BBC’s Mark Simpson will chair the great debate which will feature local hotelier and hospitality entrepreneur Bill Wolsey, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh who heads up the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, Professor Una McMahon- Beattie, head of Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster University Business School and Kate Sherry, director of Route Development with Ryanair.

A keynote political address from Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton MLA will explore tourism. With Brexit and a new tourism strategy on the horizon, it’s a great opportunity to hear how the sector is viewed in political circles.

Bringing Hospitality Exchange to a close will be the infamous Gala Ball. This will have a ‘posh pumpkins’ theme, an autumnal menu and exciting entertainment! With a great drinks reception and wine to accompany the meal, it’s a chance to relax, meet colleagues and enjoy a great night out.

Tickets for events can be booked online at If you require assistance or have queries about Hospitality Exchange, contact Northern Ireland Hotels Federation on T. 028 9077 6635.

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