Comment: Truth and trust will be at heart of convention

Next week’s Abta forum comes at eventful juncture in history, says the association’s chief executive Mark Tanzer

Next week, close to 500 delegates will attend the Abta Travel Convention in the beautiful and dynamic city of Seville for three days of thought‑provoking business sessions, unparalleled networking opportunities and spectacular parties courtesy of our Andalusian hosts.

The travel industry is characterised by its resilience in the face of a wide range of factors. We have to be. Unpredictable political, economic and natural events can all have a significant impact on our businesses and customers.

Challenges and opportunities

Even so, this year’s Abta Travel Convention takes place at a remarkably fluid and eventful juncture in history, when so many of the accepted norms are either changing or being severely tested. The public’s trust in establishment figures and experts is at an all-time low, social media is providing alternative information sources, while at the same time people are increasingly aware that even these sources are open to manipulation and distortion.

This creates a challenging business arena, but also offers opportunities. More than ever, customers are looking for travel suppliers they can trust – those who provide holidays that match the marketing hype. In Seville, speakers will provide compelling arguments and guidance on the themes of truth, trust and the future of the expert.

We always manage to attract a high calibre of speakers for the travel industry’s flagship event and this year is no exception. We have 39 leaders in their respective fields, both in the travel industry and the wider business world.

A full list of the speakers, together with their biographies, can be found on the Travel Convention website and I would strongly recommend you take a look. The impressive line-up includes Gloria Guevara Manzo, president and chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council, Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, and Sofia Natal, global experience transformation expert at IBM.

Spanish flair and passion

Spain has been the venue for the Travel Convention more than any other destination. This is a reflection of how important the country is to our industry, but also a recognition of the UK’s contribution to the Spanish economy.

We know from past experience that the Spanish are outstanding hosts, but even in Spain the Andalusians have a special reputation for flair, passion and putting on a great show.

Seville is a stunning city and is undergoing something of a renaissance as a year-round destination. For those attending the convention, I would strongly recommend taking time before or after the event to fully explore Seville and visit neighbouring cities such as Jerez de la Frontera, Cordoba, Granada, Cadiz and Malaga – the gateway to the Costa del Sol.

I look forward to seeing those of you who have already booked your places in Spain. For those of you who would like to go but haven’t yet booked, there are still a limited number of places available, and flights are also available to Jerez, a short train ride from Seville.

Listen: Mark Tanzer discusses the themes of this year’s Travel Convention and answers questions from agents in the Travel Weekly podcast

Travel Weekly is trade media partner of The Travel Convention
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