Celebrity & Expert Speakers

Engage with our line-up of knowledgable travel experts and be inspired as they share accounts of their own travel experiences and offer essential advice for the discerning traveller. 

Each talk in our Meet the Experts Theatre is complimentary for visitors to the Fair and offers inspiration and essential advice. Here are just a few of our headline speakers from 2017... 

Giles Coren

Speaking on Thursday 2nd of November 2017

Giles Coren is a writer, critic, columnist and television presenter. For the last thirteen years, he’s been the Times’ restaurant critic. In 2005, he was named ‘Food and Drink Writer of the Year’ at the British Press Awards and in 2016, named Restaurant Writer of the Year at the Fortnum and Mason Awards. His documentary ‘Amazing Hotels: Life beyond the Lobby’ premiered this year on BBC Two Documentary and will start filming for a second series in late 2017.   

Chadden Hunter

Speaking on Saturday 4th November 2017

Dr. Chadden Hunter is an Australian producer/director at the BBC Natural History Unit. He worked with National Geographic and Discovery Channel, filming everything from tribes in Africa to snow leopards in Pakistan. Chadden became known as ‘the guy covered in bat poop’ on BBC series Planet Earth. He’s been nominated for two Emmy Awards and producer on Planet Earth 2, winner of four Baftas. While he was producing ‘Grasslands’ programme on Planet Earth 2, Chadden discovered a new-found respect for any rhinoceros he meets on foot in long grass. 

Tristan Gooley

Speaking on Friday 3rd November 2017

Tristan Gooley is an author and natural navigator. He is Vice Chairman of the UK’s largest independent travel company and set up his natural navigation school in 2008. Tristan led expeditions in five continents, climbed mountains in Europe, Africa and Asia, sailed small boats across oceans. He is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic. 

Lord Norwich

Speaking on Sunday 5th November 2017

Lord John Julius Norwich is former chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, Honorary Trustee and Chair Emeritus of the World Monuments Fund and former member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust. His many publications include A History of Venice and Byzantium and New York Times bestseller Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy. He has written and presented historical documentaries for television, and is a regular lecturer on Venice and other subjects.

Elsa Manelphe de Wailly

Chateau Castigno

Speaking on Saturday 4 November 2017

Born in 1976 in French Reunion Island - Elsa studied politics science, philosophy and journalism.  But her passion for gastronomy pushed her to commit more than 15 years in Slow Food movement, and the International Disciples d’Escoffier. She worked from 2006 to 2013 between Argentina and Uruguay, in food and wine world developing experiences such as pop-up restaurants and events - and in media with articles, books, and radio chronicles. 2015 saw the start of Village Castigno, a project of wine tourism in South of France, and now she moved with her family to this organic wine estate to develop the 5 stars hotel, and implement « the art of slow living ».

David Lee

OwnerInto Japan Specialist Tours

Speaking on Thursday 2 November

David Lee originally studied Japanese in Kyoto and has lived in Japan for a total of 8 years. His company has been arranging travel and educational programmes between the UK and Japan for more than 20 years.

Mark Bingley

Member of Maisons Marques et Domains and Chair of Events & Tasting Committee for the institute of Masters of WineMasters of Wine

Speaking on Friday 3 November 2017

Soon after graduating from Cambridge, Mark became fascinated by the mystery and variety of fine wines. Starting in the wine trade specializing in Champagne and Burgundy, in his spare time he studied to be a MAster of Wine. His keen enthusiasm for Champagne led him to becoming, in 1986, a founding member of Maisons Marques et Domaines. Mark has been a Master of Wine for 30 years and is Chair of the Events & Tasting Committee for the institute of Masters of Wine

Kim Mouncer

Product & Marketing ExecutiveBespoke Latin America

Speaking on Friday 3 November 2017

Kim Mouncer has travelled and worked extensively in Latin America for over the last 10 years. During that time she fell in love with the region of Patagonia which covers the bottom half of the continent stretching across Chile and Argentina. She has lead countless trips in the area and is the 'go-to-girl' for Patagonia in Bespoke Latin America. Aside from the great outdoors, her other great passion is birds and is a mine of information when it comes to birdlife in Latin America. She likes nothing more than exploring the Fitzroy mountain range in search of a colourful Tapaculo.

Chris Breen

Safari GuideZambia’s Luangwa Valley

Speaking on Thursday 2 November 2017

Chris Breen started out managing a lodge and working as a safari guide for a prestigious operator in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. Subsequent experience in the travel industry back in the UK inspired him to found Wildlife Worldwide in 1992 ‘to do it properly’. Widely travelled and known throughout the industry, Chris is an inexhaustible font of knowledge.

Malcolm Peasnall

DirectorThe Independent Traveller

Speaking on Friday 3 November 2017

For close to 40 years the Independent Traveller product Director Malcolm Peasnall has travelling in South Africa. The Garden Route is always a favourite of British visitors particularly in the UK winter.  Malcolm will share his  40 year experience of the area with you. It is perhaps the off the beaten track destinations that make a trip really special so come along to discover how to get the best out of your trip. The current high value of the pound in relation to the pound makes the trip very affordable.

Will Fox

Conservationist and Filmmaker Wildlife

Speaking on Sunday 5 November 2017

Wildlife conservationist and filmmaker Will Fox is originally from Yorkshire, but has worked in big cat conservation in Africa for the last fifteen years. During that time he has also produced and directed many wildlife safari television shows, often broadcast LIVE from the African bush, where his knowledge of big cat behavior has enabled worldwide audiences to be immersed in the action as it happens.

Aleem Raheem

Co-FounderThe Earth Trip

Speaking on Sunday 5 November 2017

Aleem is one of the co-founders of The Earth Trip along with his partner Izabela. Born and raised in hill country of Sri Lanka and passionate about Sri Lanka and responsible tourism. He has travelled to every corner of Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean. In his early days in London worked in most luxury hote4ls in Mayfair. Studied International Relations at the University of London, Geography, Environmental Management & Toursm at University of Hertfordshire. He teaches on sustainable tourism in UK & Madagascar universities.

Johanna von Gilsa

FounderCarlitos Handmade

Speaking on Saturday 4 November 2017

Johanna von Gilsa founded the company in 2014 in Germany. At the time, she was working with her husband across Eastern Europe developing agricultural businesses, it is then she realized she had a passion for design. In the beginning, Johanna started designing her own furniture including beds and sofas. Local craftsmen from Slupsk, a polish city near the seaside, brought the designs to life. A close-knit team was formed and from there, and started designing furniture, children's clothing and clothes that she too wanted to wear. Since 2 years they are specialized in unique  travelbags and more...

Bret Charman

Award-Winning Photographer and Member of MarketingTeam at Wildlife WorldwideWildlife Worldwide

Speaking on Saturday 4 November 2017

Bret Charman is an award-winning wildlife photographer and a member of the Marketing team at Wildlife Worldwide. It is the fantastic flora and fauna around Winchester that inspired his love affair with the natural world. He thrives on discovering what’s happening on his local patch, as well as in those more exotic locations a little further afield.

Helen Bryon

Wildlife ConsultantWildlife Worldwide

Speaking on Sunday 5 November 2017

After an idyllic Botswana childhood, Helen Bryon returned to the UK in her teens, then spent two years globe-trotting before studying Geography. After 16 years with a renowned UK travel company, Africa called her back to live her dream and qualify as a safari guide, followed by four fabulous years on a private reserve in South Africa. Helen is now part of the team at Wildlife Worldwide.


Alessandro Cavazza

ArchitectBeyond the Gates

Speaking on Friday 3 November 2017

Alessandro Cavazza de Altamer is an architect. He was born in Rome in 1986 and inherited a passion for Italy’s history and architecture from his grandfather, an engineer with great expertise in historical houses. After studying architecture in Venice and Rome and working for almost six years for a construction company in locations such as Romania, Jordan, Algeria and Poland, he decided to return to his homeland Italy to found Beyond the Gates, a network of high-end historical properties. He now manages Beyond the Gates with his brother, an hotelier. Together they also significantly contributed to the restoration and opening to the public of the Castle of Tabiano, one of their family estates.

Rubrio Basilio

Founder & SkipperSeascape

Speaking Thursday 2 November 2017

Rubrio was born on Madeira Island and grew up with the sea and the mountains as his childhood playground. Sailing all his life, and with a Masters in Management and Logisitics he has worked as a skipper and sailing instrutor all around the world. Chasing his Olympic dream, he also spent five years as a professional athlete, racing in many events including three years on the 2012 Olympic campaign in Star Class. Following his athletic career, sport is still a passion and in his spare time, he enjoys taking part in multiple activities on land and sea. Rubrio will take care of all the sailing and logistics during the trip.

Ceri Evans


Speaking on Thursday 2 November 2017

Ceri grew up in the Brecon Beacons and spent her weekends exploring hills and mountains with her friends and family. Her passion for the great outdoors continued into adulthood where she has been fortunate to travel around the globe, conquering some of the world’s most inspiring and iconic mountain ranges. Ceri is a very senior leader within the construction industry but her urge to make her passions a reality and share this with others led to the creation of SeaScape Adventures after a chance meeting with Rubrio in the British Virgin Islands whilst on her sailing holidays. Together they use their expertise and vision to create breathtaking holidays and memories that will last a lifetime.

Guy Wolley

Guy Wolley trained at the Savoy in London in the early 80’s then went to live in Paris
before setting up his own French restaurants and delicatessens in London. He is
an experienced presenter and acknowledged food expert and his lifelong love
of France continues unabated. He now lives in Hampshire and spends his time
cooking and talking

Clare Dudley

Managing Director, Ponders Travel

My first job in travel was when I was just 18 years old, as I moved into the role of business development manager for a Travel Company in Cambridge, my role involved me more and more with the cruise market. Gaining more experience in other sectors of the trade was necessary, before stepping off on my own and I joined Fred Olsen Travel as cruise development manager. “The confidence to set up my own business came from the work I did at Fred Olsen’s. The company is part of a multi-million pound cruise empire and the hunger and knowledge to grow the business was everything I wanted.  In 2009 I finally realised that I had accumulated all the background and knowledge to do it for myself. So it’s now been over 7 years since I launched Ponders Cruise and Travel a successful company creating tailor made holidays, delivering superb service to all our clients and the passion to keep doing this is still as intense as the first day we launched.  this is all enhanced by a truly amazing couple of years whereby we are truly being recognised as experts in our field as in 2016 I was awarded winner of CLIA Cruise Manager of the Year 2016

We have also been finalist for CLIA - Best River Cruise Newcomer, Best Group Travel Provider in the UK 2016 and Highly Commended Cruise Consultant of the Year 2017 for one of our team Zoltan Biczo. 

So now with over 30 Years in the Travel Industry and explored over 90 Ships and visited 100's of destinations, I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you.