Carnival Corporation chief executive Arnold Donald says he “jumped at the chance” to appear as a headline speaker at Abta’s Travel Convention in The Azores this October.

The Carnival boss has never attended the Convention or visited The Azores. Abta announced his participation this week.

Donald told Travel Weekly: “I’m excited about joining everyone. I jump at any chance to talk to industry decision-makers. They have their finger on the pulse of the business.”

He said: “The UK is one of the world’s largest markets for cruising, so it is incredibly important for our brands – especially P&O Cruises and Cunard.

“I plan to talk about how we’re living in the golden age of cruising, about creating more demand for cruise vacations and the critical role agents play in helping create demand and providing expert advice to clients.

“We’ll also share highlights on Ocean Medallion, our new guest experience abta travel conventionplatform that we believe has the potential to transform not just cruise vacations but the vacation market. Hopefully, I’ll also have a chance to listen to attendees.”

Donald recently challenged the UK cruise market to regain its place as the world number-two ahead of Germany. He said: “Obviously, I want both countries to do great. We need our travel partners to continue to promote the great experience and value cruising provides, and make certain our guests sail on the right brand for them. There are some advantages in the UK, especially with currency, that make cruise even greater value.”

He said his key message to the Convention would be: “We couldn’t do it without you. Cruising is the best vacation experience and the best vacation value on the planet.”

The Travel Convention takes place from October 9-11, in Porto Delgado, The Azores

Registration, flights and accommodation are now available