Developing new skills is vital for the travel industry as the UK enters a recession, training experts told delegates at World Travel Market.
 
People1st head of skills development Gerry Brown said taking part in continuous professional development (CPD) is more important now than ever.
 
He said: “Skills are even more important during the recession. The travel industry’s biggest problem is retention, so CPD is very relevant as it allows individuals to gather skills they can take with them as they move to different roles.”
 
ABTA education liaison executive Vicki Wolf said the association’s Accredited Travel Professional Scheme was gaining strength. ATP allows agents to earn points by going on fam trips or attending seminars, eventually building up to gold membership.
 
The Co-operative Travel signed up to the scheme last month and other companies are likely to follow suit.
 
Wolf said: “We want to get to a stage where the public can use ATP to find  travel agents in their local area who really know what they’re talking about.
 
“In this climate, you really need to differentiate yourself from the competition when you approach an employer. The travel industry is constantly changing and you have to demonstrate that you’re keeping up.”

* More WTM 2008 coverage at travelweekly.co.uk/wtm2008