As any ABTA veteran will tell you, it’s best to go in with a plan and divide your time wisely between speeches and networking. If you’re in need of any assistance then gen up with our guide to the big hitters. These are the speakers not to be missed at this year’s ABTA convention:
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Background: Haji-Ionnnou was born in Greece and studied at the London School of Economics and City University Business School. He started his first company, Stelmar Shipping, when he was just 25. He is best known as the man behind no-frills carrier EasyJet. Founder of EasyGroup, most of his brands are travel related – EasyJet, EasyHotel, EasyCruise and EasyCar.
Specialist subject: no-frills travel.
Listen out for: the development of his brand across the Middle East and India, where he is set to open up a hotel chain.
Background: an environmental campaigner for nearly 20 years and Friends of the Earth executive director and vice chairman of Friends of the Earth International, the global federation of 68 national FOE organisations. He has worked with the group since 1990 and has been involved in many of the organisation’s most high-profile campaigns.
During the mid 1990s he was a leading figure in the campaign against road building that led to dramatic shifts in national transport policy.
Specialist subject: the green debate.
Listen out for: his views on balancing the demands of global tourism with the environmental cost.
Background:best known as a DJ, producer and TV presenter. Once produced 20 number-one records in one year and is responsible for launching Kylie Minogue’s music career. Has also witnessed music technology evolve from 78s, 45s, cassettes and CDs to MP3 files. His enthusiasm for trains led him to start up the UK’s biggest private rail vehicle maintenance company.
Specialist subject: rail travel and adapting to changing technology.
Listen out for: his views of the effects of new technology on businesses.
Background: after 10 years in the travel industry, including roles as sales director for Specialist Holidays Group and commercial director for Highlife Breaks, Hawke joined P&O Princess Cruises in 2002 as head of sales. He steered the sales team through a corporate merger (to become Carnival UK), through growth of more than 150% and through the introduction of an enhanced product portfolio. Currently head of sales for Complete Cruise Solution, the umbrella brand for P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line and Ocean Village.
Specialist subject: cruising.
Listen out for: how the industry is investing in product development, technology and marketing potential.
Background: publisher of the TWgroup, which consists of Travel Weekly, Gazetteers.com, Travolution and their associated events and online services. He developed the online presence of Reed’s Hair and Beauty group, and launched Travolution, the specialist online travel magazine. He took the DG&G travel directories online – the first directories to go from print to 100% online.
Specialist subject: technology in business.
Listen out for: how the introduction of Web 2.0 will impact on travel brands and increase online distribution.
Background: group director of consumer protection at the Civil Aviation Authority since October 2004. Also a member of the Economic Regulation and Consumer Protection Policy Committee and a Trustee of the Air Travel Trust. Formerly head of investment banking at Daiwa SBCM Europe.
Specialist subject: aviation.
Listen out for: his view on the ABTA versus CAA judicial review.
ABTA FactsWhen: November 27-29
Theme: the time is now: the time is right
Expected attendance: 1,600 delegates
Cost: £375 for travel agent delegates, spouses go free