ABTA will not hold a series of UK events for travel agents next year to replicate its overseas conference as originally planned.


The news follows the recent announcement that the 2009 Travel Convention will be held in Barcelona.


At this year’s convention in Gran Canaria, chief executive Mark Tanzer outlined plans for an additional series of two or three UK events to ensure agents who could not afford to go to the main convention did not miss out. These would have covered the same content as the main event.


But head of development Andy Cooper confirmed the association had debated the issue and thought 2009 was not the right year to try out a new format, while sponsorship of such events was unlikely in the current economic downturn.


He said: “It’s unlikely we will do anything in the current year looking at the practicalities of getting funding to make it work and the logistics. The cost of hotel rooms in the UK is so expensive that doing an overseas conference is not more expensive than doing it here.”


Meanwhile, ABTA is undergoing a strategic review of what the association stands for and its direction as an organisation. It has already conducted focus groups, interviews with staff and the media. The results of the research are to be put to the board in mid-January.


Cooper added: “We will draw up proposals to look at the whole programme of ABTA’s future.”