North East Connected

Experts in the North East travel, tourism and hospitality sector support the next generation

Future leaders of the travel and tourism industry in the North East recently met at Sage Gateshead to hear from industry experts on how to build a successful career.

Organised by Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University in partnership with The Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) and Sage Gateshead, business leaders representing some of the region’s most successful travel and tourism organisations, shared their knowledge and expertise on how to succeed in business.

The ‘ITT Future You’ roadshow attracted more than 200 students from Northumbria University, Gateshead College and Newcastle College, keen to hear more about the sector’s diverse range of career opportunities from industry professionals.

Key speakers included Michael Long, director of global merchandising and promotions at, who studied Tourism Management at Northumbria University, graduating in 2002. Since then he’s lived in five countries and visited more than 70, working for companies including Olympic Holidays, the Civil Aviation Authority and Expedia Group.

Mr Long was joined by Claire Davies, director of sales at DoubleTree by Hilton, Chris Laws, events and operations manager at Sage Gateshead, Kate Hall, marketing and communications manager at Newcastle Airport, Danny Waine, UK & Ireland commercial sales manager for Swiss-based self-catering specialist Interhome, Kim Chapman from Durham Tees Valley Airport, Lee Ainsworth, Advantage Travel and Caroll Pattison from Traveleyes.

Event organiser Kate Harland, graduate tutor at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, said: “We are pleased to host another Future You Roadshow in Newcastle as part of our commitment to student employability. As a university, we place great emphasis on this event, which provides a key opportunity for our tourism students to network and learn from industry professionals. The variety of speakers we have this year is testament to the wealth of opportunities within the tourism industry, which is great inspiration for our students who are contemplating their employment options following graduation.”

Key speaker, Michael Long, director of global merchandising and promotions at, said: “I studied Tourism Management at Northumbria between 1998 and 2002. It has shaped my entire career, I have worked in the industry ever since and can honestly say that I wouldn’t change anything about my past or current career path. I have Northumbria to thank for setting me in the right direction. I also have very fond memories of my time at Northumbria, hence why I was keen to stay connected to the University and help to inspire current and prospective students. It’s been great to be part of the event and to have the opportunity to share my tips and experience of working in this fantastic industry.”

Second year Business with Management student, Jade Harsley, 23, attended the event. She said: “It was a very insightful and inspiring day and great to hear from so many people who have taken such different paths into the industry. I particularly appreciated their honesty, with some speakers showing that not everything is always plain sailing and sometimes things don’t go the way you planned. As a student this is really relatable and demonstrated that everything presented during the day was from the real life experiences of those who spoke.”

Event partner Claire Steiner, board director, Institute of Travel and Tourism, said: “We are delighted to be working with Northumbria University on our ITT Future You initiative. The aim of ITT Future You is to inform and inspire the next generation about the range of opportunities in the travel and tourism space and to provide them with valuable insight in how to progress and succeed. As one of the ITT Centres of Excellence, Northumbria University works closely with the ITT in developing opportunities for industry and education to collaborate and has once again organised a fantastic event with an exciting range of speakers.”

Northumbria is the only university in the North East of England to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence by The Institute of Travel and Tourism, the UK’s professional body for the travel and tourism industry. With 31,500 students, Northumbria is one of the largest universities in the country, offering courses on either a full-time, part-time or distance learning basis.

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