VAC 2023


Thursday, 5th October 2023


VAC 2023

The National Visitor Attractions Conference – VAC 2023, is returning for its 20th year. Further details to follow soon…

2022 Conference Gallery at the ICC, Birmingham

VAC Committee

Janet Uttley

Head of Business Support Transformation – Visit England

Janet is currently Head of…

Ken Robinson CBE

VAC Founder

Ken Robinson is an independent…

Paul Kelly

Chief Executive – BALPPA

Having been with BALPPA for…

Liz Terry CEO of Leisure Media

Liz Terry MBE

Managing Editor – Attractions Management

Liz Terry MBE is the…

Bernard Donoghue OBE

Chief Executive, ALVA

Bernard has been the CEO…

Janet Uttley

Position: Head of Business Support Transformation – Visit England
Categories: VAC Committee

Janet is currently Head of Business Support Transformation at VisitEngland. Moving away from tourism for a short while it was very evident that would not last, recognising that no other sector delivers the same buzz and drive than being frontline in tourism.

With broad experience in the industry, both with the national tourist board, VisitEngland and in the attractions sector, Janet has worked for the RHS, IWM, Vardon (now Merlin) and Aspro Ocio. From gardens and grass car parks to 25ft sand tiger sharks, Janet understands the challenges faced by the industry having led volunteers and teams to drive up secondary spend and grow memberships through targeted and focused campaign delivery.

With a passion for tourism, her true drive is building and shaping partnerships in collaborations that deliver results. Most recently she has led the development and rollout of the ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard work, building at pace a project in collaboration with 45 industry bodies, that is supporting the industry through COVID-19 recovery.

Ken Robinson CBE

Position: VAC Founder
Categories: VAC Committee

Ken Robinson is an independent adviser who speaks and writes on tourism topics. As a long time enthusiast for the benefits of tourism, and a specialist in Visitor Attractions, he started the National Conference and is a Board member of the not-for-profit company that arranges the Conference for the industry today.

Ken has over 50 years operational experience in commercial and charitable attractions, in the Heritage, Museum and Leisure sectors, in the UK and overseas, and has a keen interest in strategies to optimise the economic, social and cultural benefits of tourism. Ken participates actively in industry working groups and has advised the UN’s International Trade Centre, on national and destination Tourism strategy development. Ken was a Board Member of the Tourism Society and Chair of its Think Tank, and Chair of the Tourism Alliance.

He is a Board member and former Chair of Tourism South East, and a Board member or Trustee of several other Tourism bodies. Ken was appointed CBE for services to Tourism in 1997, and awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2014.

Paul Kelly

Position: Chief Executive – BALPPA
Categories: VAC 2022 Speaker, VAC Committee

Having been with BALPPA for 10 years and working with VAC for that amount of time as well, Paul sees it as a a great opportunity for VAC to be hosted in Birmingham.  Starting life in Thorpe Park in the 80’s and then moving on to the London Eye for its opening around the millennium, he has  always been involved with visitor attractions.  Several more years working within Merlin both in the UK and abroad, mainly on business development, meant that a continuation within the industry was inevitable.  Being a BALPPA member for 30 years means that he knows a number of the great attractions in and around Birmingham and is delighted that there is the opportunity to showcase their city at VAC ‘22.  Being Chair of the organising committee at VAC keeps Paul in touch with all aspects of the attractions industry.

Liz Terry CEO of Leisure Media

Liz Terry MBE

Position: Managing Editor – Attractions Management
Categories: VAC 2022 Speaker, VAC Committee

Liz Terry MBE is the CEO of Leisure Media, the magazine, book and web publisher. She joined the then embryonic company as an editorial assistant in 1983, became a director in 1987 and owner and CEO in 1997.

She was appointed MBE for services to publishing in 2007 and an Honorary Fellow of the Tourism Society in 2015 and dedicated both to her team.

Liz has supported the Visitor Attractions Conference as a service to the industry since its inception.

Leisure Media’s title, Attractions Management, has been documenting the growth and development of the attractions sector since it was first published in 1992 and is proud to be an official supporter of VAC.

Attractions Management publishes a daily news website, quarterly magazine, twice monthly news magazine and annual handbook.

Bernard Donoghue OBE

Position: Chief Executive, ALVA
Categories: VAC 2022 Speaker, VAC Committee

Bernard has been the CEO of the UK’s Association for Leading Visitor Attractions, since 2011 following a career in advocacy, communications, and lobbying, latterly at VisitBritain.  In 2017, the Mayor of London appointed Bernard to be the Mayor’s Ambassador for Cultural Tourism and a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board. He is Co-Chair of the London Tourism Recovery Board, tasked with the sustainable recovery of London’ s visitor economy, created in February 2021.

Bernard is currently  Chair of the Board of the Bristol Old Vic theatre, the oldest continually working theatre in the English-speaking world,  and also of the People’s History Museum, the Museum of Democracy.  In July 2021, he won the public vote for the COVID Special Recognition Award from the UK Museums and Heritage Awards for his service to, and leadership of the museums and heritage sector in the UK during the pandemic. Bernard was awarded an OBE in HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Birthday Honours in 2022 for ‘services to tourism and to culture’.



Official Publication:

Sponsorship & Exhibition

Please contact us to discuss a wide variety of promotional opportunities for  VAC 2023!

The audience profile is owners and senior managers of Visitor Attractions as well as opinion leaders, heritage professionals, local authorities, national bodies and many service providers that support the marketing, development, infrastructure, legislation, management and safe delivery of the attractions enjoyed by the general public of all ages.

Join our current Sponsors and Exhibitors at VAC next year and improve your company’s awareness and business development in this important sector of the tourism economy.

More details coming soon

Subscribe to our VAC 2023 Newsletter

To be kept up to date with the conference development and latest news


VAC 2023 General Enquiry