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Meet the Experts - Theatre Two

Our two Meet the Experts Theatres will be playing host to expert talks covering the different corners of the globe. Speakers will give you unique insight into their experiences and take you on fascinating and memorable journeys to inspire your next adventure. 

Click the individual sessions to reveal more about what you can expect.

To view the timetable for the Meet the Experts Theatre One click here


- 11:30am: Wanderlust Travel Awards

Speaker: Lyn Hughes, Editor-in-Chief & Founder, Wanderlust Magazine


- 12:30pm: New Zealand: Land of the Long White Cloud, the Hobbit and Scenic Wonders

A travelogue through the highlights of New Zealand

Speaker: John Lightwood, Director

Silver Fern Holidays

- 1:30pm: Adventures in Paradise

A journey into the heart of Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s most beautiful and diverse countries, along with wheelchair-bound BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner in search of elusive Birds of Paradise. First the first time, Benedict will also touch on his most recent adventure, which gained international attention when he was “rescued” by British newspaper. 

Speaker: Benedict Allen - TV Presenter, explorer and author

Papua New Guinea Tourism

- 2:30pm: European food tours

Intrepid Travel’s food tours uncover authentic, mouth-watering gastronomic cultures designed to suit a range of budgets and time frames with bite-sized trips and gastronomic odysseys. By pairing the classic grassroots Intrepid travel style with a special food focus, their itineraries aim to really get you under the skin of the world's most exciting food cultures. It might be bottling your own wine in Spain, learning centuries old recipes over breakfast with a Jordanian shepherd or biking through a pistachio farm in Greece. Intrepid is keen to specifically talk about its European food tours which vary from well-known foodie destinations such as Southern Italy to the lesser recognised gastronomic cultures from Slovenia to the Balkans. The European food tours give access to experiences that wouldn't’t be accessible whilst travelling independently such as visiting local producers and eating with locals. They also open up new experiences that aren’t widely promoted from exploring Slovenia’s honey production where there are over 9,000 beekeepers to sampling Macedonia’s wines or a farmstay in Portugal’s Alentejo region. 

Speaker: TBC

Intrepid Travel

- 3:30pm: Visiting South Africa's historic battlefields

South Africa is a country whose history is defined by its many conflicts - those between Britain and the Xhosa & Zulu nations - between the British and the Afrikaner Boers - and between the Boers and the Zulu. This talk will bring some of the most famous battles to life, together with giving practical tips on how to make the most of a trip to the South African battlefields.

Speaker: Claire Farley - managing director, 2by2 Holidays

2by2 Holidays

- 10:30am: Sri Lanka - One Island with many trips

Discover why Sri Lanka is so fascinating. Sri Lanka offers so much for visitors of all kind. In this talk you will learn about great diverse of wildlife, fascinating and rich ancient history with 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, colourful culture, intriguing colonial heritage, lush tropical nature, mouth watering food and golden sandy beaches. Whether you would like wildlife spotting or hiking in the tea mountains or climbing Adams Peak or lounging in the golden sandy beaches or discovering the ancient cities or exploring the rainforest, Sri Lanka has it all.

Speaker: Aleem Raheem

The Earth Trip

- 11:30am: Croatia cruising - The hot ticket for 2018

If you had to design somewhere ideal for relaxed small-ship cruising, Croatia would probably be it. Small, historic and picturesque towns set on dozens of islands with hundreds of small bays surrounded by a warm blue sea. And this is not somewhere to come if you want to lose weight - The food, very localised, is copious and utterly delicious and can usually be washed down with wine produced within 5 miles to complement the local cheeses and olives. Come and hear why it is the hot ticket for 2018.

Speaker: Powell Ettinger - MD The Small Cruise Ship Collection

The Small Cruise Ship Collection

- 12:30pm: Modern Escorted Tours

From wine routes to walking holidays, escorted tours are everywhere. Devotees will tell you of how stress-free they are to organise, of the packed itineraries and of the exclusive chance to get up close to people, places and experiences you might miss going solo. But what are the advantages of joining a group to discover a destination rather than doing it alone? How do you choose the right one for you? Join us at the Destinations Show London where our expert panel will be on hand to tackle all your burning questions, from where to go to how to do it.

Speaker: Travel Geeks Panel - Emma Thomson, National Geographic Traveller (UK) contributor; Giles Hawke, Cosmos; Daniel Adams, One Traveller; Peter Sommer, founder, Peter Sommer Travels Moderated by Jo Fletcher-Cross, contributing editor at National Geographic Tra

National Geographic Traveller

- 1:30pm: Seeing The World As a Single Traveller

Jan Leeming will be speaking about what it is like to travel the world as a single traveller and talk about her recent experiences of single travelling in Croatia, Burma, Peru, Tuscany and Canada. She will also be speaking about her travels for work, when she was with the BBC and also her experiences in India and Cuba with BBC2’s Real Marigold Hotel. It will be an inspirational talk encouraging single travellers to get out there and enjoy a great adventure.

Speaker: Jan Leeming - broadcaster, actor, and TV presenter

Just You

- 2:30pm: Wanderlust's Guide to Thailand

Speaker: Phoebe Smith & Lyn Hughes, Wanderlust and Martin Symington, Travel Writer


- 4:00pm: Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year Awards

Speaker: Lyn Hughes, Editor-in-Chief & Founder, Wanderlust Magazine


- 11:30am: Discover Taiwan: Asia’s best kept secret

Come and hear all about Taiwan and what makes it the true ‘heart of Asia’. Taiwan is a stunning and diverse subtropical island in the Western Pacific, which combines all of Asia’s most beautiful characteristics, but still remains under-the-radar for western travellers. With 21st century cities, fused with ancient traditions and cultures, far-east-flair, breath-taking landscapes and adventurous coastlines with colourful corals and volcanic islands, Taiwan is a breath-taking tapestry of landscapes. Come and hear about how to discover this incredible island for yourself, and how it’s in fact one of the easiest destinations to travel in Asia! Whether you are a foodie traveller, outdoor adventurer, culture lover or shopping enthusiast, Taiwan has something for everyone. 

Speaker: Caroline Parker - Account Manager

Taiwan Tourism Bureau

- 12:30pm: Pole to Pole

Guide, presenter and award-winning photographer has spent over a year of his life leading photographic expeditions in Spitsbergen and Antarctica. With so many hours of daylight he works ferociously hard to achieve ‘that’ image. It has still eluded him but come and see his latest harvest from the last couple of years including a couple of special Polar charters with Mark Carwardine and Chris Packham. ‘Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing a client really nail an image’ says Paul ‘it makes everything worth it’.

Speaker: Paul Goldstein - Photographer

- 1:30pm: Getting to Machu Picchu

A lot has changed this year with the Peruvian government releasing Inca Trek permits early and changing the opening times of Machu Picchu. This talk will cover the different routes for reaching the site and how to make the most of your time there.

Speaker: Owen Denton - Head of Operations

Tucan Travel

- 2:30pm: Wrangel Island: Voyage of a Lifetime

Join Wildlife Worldwide founder Chris Breen to share his recent ‘voyage of a lifetime’ exploring the remote wilderness of Russia’s Wrangel Island located on the roof of the world. Chris will share his images and stories including encounters with polar bears, whales and the people of this remote corner of the earth.

Speaker: Chris Breen, Founder Wildlife Worldwide

Wildlife Worldwide

- 3:30pm: And the family came too... Simon Mayo in the Land of Fire & Ice

Having declared their intention to choose Iceland as their summer holiday, Radio 2’s Drivetime DJ Simon Mayo and his wife Hilary found their grown up family decided they wanted to come too. Join their road trip to North and West Iceland where the only things likely to hold you up are spectacular views of mountains, waterfalls and icecaps. Simon describes his journey, from the North Iceland port of Akureyri to the capital Reykjavik, delving inside glaciers and volcanoes and revealing why Iceland is Europe’s ultimate adventure playground for all the family.

Speaker: Radio DJ Simon Mayo

Discover The World

- 10:30am: Celebrate Swaziland’s 50/50 in 2018

Swaziland is a nation that knows how to party! With ancient ceremonies involving tens of thousands in traditional dress still celebrated and modern-day arts festivals that rank amongst the best in the world, this is one of the best countries in Africa for true cultural experiences. 2018 looks set to top them all as the country celebrates 50 years of independence at the same time as the King celebrates his 50th birthday. Swaziland embodies the essence of Africa in a small yet diverse destination. As well as its rich culture, it has stunning scenery, and thrilling wildlife experiences. More and more tour operators are now offering Swaziland trips to discover authentic Africa, as it emerges form the shadows of its big neighbors.

Speaker: Jenny Bowen - Director

Swaziland Tourism

- 11:30am: The 24 Portuguese (and former Portuguese) islands of the Atlantic

These four archipelagos are linked by their Portuguese heritage, but have taken different routes to prosperity. The Azores and Madeira are very much part of Europe, where as the islands of Cape Verde and Sao Tome have followed their African heritage. Each is striving to create a niche in which to prosper and Ian Coates (MD of Archipelago Choice) will talk about the uniqueness of these islands and why they are worth further exploration.


Speaker: Ian Coates - Managing Director

Archipelago Choice

- 12:30pm: The Smallest Ship in the Fleet

Dave will be discussing his experience of waterbiking down the Norwegian Coast from Kirkenes to Bergen, following the route of Hurtigruten’s ships. 

Speaker: Dave Cornthwaite - Adventurer


- 1:30pm: An Introduction to Astrotourism: Chasing Eclipses and other Celestial Wonders

In the past decade it has become popular to compile ‘bucket lists’ – those checklists of places we should visit, or experiences we would like to enjoy, during our lifetime. While the content of those lists varies, chasing solar eclipses is invariably up there! And as the next total eclipse visible from the UK occurs in 2090, those that want to witness one for themselves will need to travel to see it! Eclipses can occur anywhere around the globe and not always on well-trodden tourist trails… so travellers often find themselves in remote, unusual and exciting places where few tourists ever set foot! However, if you can’t wait for Chile in 2019, or Argentina in 2020, there are other celestial phenomena that are well worth organising your holiday around. As well as the upcoming options for viewing a total solar eclipse, Naturetrek’s astronomy expert David Phillips describes the drama of journeying north to the Arctic Circle to witness dynamic displays of the Northern Lights, and heading south to safari by day and star-gaze by night, under the famously dark Namibian skies.

Speaker: David Phillips - Operations & Astronomy Tour Manager, Naturetrek


- 2:30pm: How to enjoy the Rugby World Cup in Japan

In 2019 Japan is hosting the Rugby World Cup for this first time and for 7 weeks it promises to be an amazing spectacle and opportunity for rugby fans and keen travelers alike. With venues spread all across the country you can take in the excitement while experiencing the top locations. David Lee introduces the best ways to have the trip of a lifetime whether or not rugby is your main passion. The talk includes essential information for anyone planning to visit this unique destination.


Speaker: Rebecca Lightfoot - Tour Manager

Into Japan Specialist Tours

- 3:30pm: Haiti: The Hidden Caribbean

Haiti was one of the original innovators in developing the Caribbean as a travel destination, but recent decades have seen the nation lost in the tourism wilderness. Today, the country is emerging from behind once-bad headlines to claim its stake as an emerging destination, with a with a spectacular offering for visitors. In the mountaintop Citadelle it has the biggest and most spectacular fortress in the America, along with the region's most notable visual arts scene, a rich food culture, hiking, whale watching and all the white beaches you could wish for. Learn more about the real land of Vodou, and discover why Haiti is one of the most surprising and compelling of Caribbean destinations.

Speaker: Paul Clammer - Guidebook author

Bradt Travel Guides