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Tourism Business Chat series two wrap up – hope for the future!

The underlying theme of our first series of Tourism Business Chat, was reflection. The guests looked back on 2020, and how the sector was weathering the COVID-19 storm. Series two launched as we were approaching the road map into recovery, so naturally, presenter, Chris Scargill, noticed a subtle shift towards a refreshed optimism, and guided the conversations around other aspects of working in the sector.

The series finale is a chat with Karen Hester, Chief Operating Officer of Adnams brewery in Southwold. Karen describes her story as ‘from mop to top’ – starting her career at Adnams as a cleaner, she’s now an award winning, glass ceiling breaking COO. This is the story of Karen’s personal journey into the world of business, and of her successes along the way; from suing the Ministry of Defence for sexism, to her supervision of the ground-breaking, multi-million pound, sustainable rebuild projects at Adnams.

Chris also chats to Geoff Bligh, co-owner of the hugely popular Hank’s Deli and Pub in Ipswich. Geoff left his successful career in the City to bring his passion for vegan food to Ipswich and was taken aback by the demand! Now with a supermarket, two take-aways and the region’s first fully vegan pub, Geoff speaks honestly about how they were able to turn the initial worries of lockdown into opportunities to expand.

Oliver Brown, from Wivenhoe House Hotel in Essex, discusses the role that Hospitality Action plays in supporting those with mental health issues and why their work is more important than ever. They discuss the Edge Hotel School, and how its students have overcome the challenges that the last 12 months have put on the shoulders of those studying hospitality, and indeed the hotel, whose job it is to train them, with no customers!

We also get a behind-the-scenes look at Thursford, home of the famous Christmas Spectacular. Brothers, George and Charlie Cushing, talk about how they set about creating a new theatre-esq show for 2020. Their enthusiasm is not just for Thursford itself, but in supporting the local economy, which relies on their thousands of visitors to the area, as well as the arts industry, within which so many professionals rely on them for seasonal work.

Judy Randon, a customer experience director from insight6, speaks clearly about what businesses need to be doing now in order to protect their brand, which is at risk coming out of lockdown. She also gives great advice on what businesses need to focus on and prioritise, including a re-evaluation of their values.

“I have found so much inspiration in these podcasts, listening to experts within the industry who have spoken so openly with Chris about their experiences” Judy said; “whether you’re interested in learning about strategy, culture in the workplace, planning for growth or the impact stay-cations will have, there is so much covered!”

There’s so much inspiration in this series; whether you’re interested in learning about strategy, culture in the workplace, planning for growth or the impact stay-cations will have! By the time we return for series three, businesses will be opening up again, and we can’t wait to hear how they are coping and, hopefully, thriving!

You can find Tourism Business Chat on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or you can listen online, just visit



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