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International law firm Trowers & Hamlins partnered with Bishop Fleming Accountants and Savills to launch the inaugural South West Tourism and Leisure Forum featuring industry experts from across the sector. 

Despite well-publicised economic challenges in the past two years, the audience live poll hosted at the event highlighted an optimistic outlook for the year ahead.

Key findings from the event:

  • 87% of guests felt that investment in sustainability initiatives is a desirable or even crucial priority for their business.
  • 46% are feeling optimistic for 2023 and believe it will provide an improved trading environment compared to 2022.

Held at Winslade Manor, Exeter on 24 January, the event was created to provide a space for industry experts to discuss and tackle the latest issues from across the tourism and leisure sector. Attendees included hoteliers, tourism and recreation businesses, food and drink producers.

The event highlighted several key themes impacting the industry in the South West region, including the increasing focus on sustainability, the rising popularity of staycations in the south west as well as the ways the industry can navigate the various challenges facing the sector in 2023. 


  • Michael Caines MBE, chef and owner of Michael Caines Collection. Creating and managing luxury hotel and hospitality businesses across the region.
  • Russ Wakeham, CEO of Two Drifters Distillery. Producing carbon negative rum in Devon.
  • Tim Wheeldon, Managing Director of Zeal Hotels. Striving to develop the first net zero hotel, on the edge of Exeter.
  • James Greenslade, Savills. James is Director of Hotels and Capital Markets, specialising in the sale and acquisition of hotels and cottage complexes across the south west.

Stuart Mathews, Corporate Partner at Trowers, commented:

"The past two years have provided unprecedented challenges for the tourism and leisure industry, so it was pleasing to see that there was a sense of renewed optimism for 2023 amongst the attendees at our inaugural South West Tourism and Leisure Forum. We would like to thank Savills and Bishop Fleming Accountants for joining us in delivering this event and we look forward to continuing our support of this vital South West industry during the course of the coming year."

James Greenslade, Director, Hotel and Capital Markets, at Savills, added:

"The inaugural South West Tourism and Leisure Forum enabled stakeholders from a broad range of sectors to come together and engage in meaningful discussions on a range of topics impacting the industry in the South West. We would like to thank the attendees for taking their time and for sharing their experiences  and views on the key opportunities and challenges facing the tourism and leisure sector in the South West."

Fleur Lewis, Partner and Head of Food and Drink, Bishop Fleming: 

"We would like to thank Trowers & Hamlins and Savills for partnering with us on the launch of the South West Tourism and Leisure Forum. The tourism and leisure industry continues to have enormous potential in the South West region. Bishop Fleming, as a regionally focussed firm are passionate about bringing together like minded business owners in the sector from all across the supply chain to collaborate and create mutually beneficial opportunities and conversations. We look forward to working alongside both Trowers and Savills on future events."