World Travel Market (WTM) has formed a heavyweight team to help shape its 2009 travel agents’ programme.

Industry associations and organisations helping WTM, which is this year celebrating its 30th event, include;

• ABTA

• Institute for Travel and Tourism (ITT)

• Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)

• Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO)

• Association of ATOL Companies (AAC)

The CTO, with the support of its Caribbean member countries and private sector partners attending WTM this year, is to host a large number of agents on the Thursday of WTM (November 12).

The agents will learn about the region’s latest developments, before experiencing a traditional Caribbean lunch.

PATA is to recreate a Voyage of Discovery, which it has hosted at previous WTMs. Agents can win a host of prizes by answering a series of online questions. The answers will only be available at certain WTM exhibitor stands.

UK agents can also earn Accredited Travel Professional (ATP) points for the professional development programme run by ABTA, ITT and sector skills council People 1st, for attending WTM.

Agents earn two points for attending WTM and a further one point for every conference and seminar session they attend and a chance of gaining up to six additional points by attending ITT’s travel agents’ day programme.

The ITT sessions are:

1. Maximising Earnings – (2 ATP points)

2. Dealing with Customers – (2 ATP points)

3. Selling During a Recession – (2 ATP points)

The AAC is also hosting a session entitled ‘Is this the end of consumer protection as know it?’, which will see AAC legal advisor Alan Bowen and chairman David Mortimer looking at the future of consumer protection in the travel industry.

WTM head of marketing and communications Micaela Juarez said: “I am delighted to be able to call on such a wealth of experience and knowledge to help WTM create the 2009 Agents’ Programme.

“Since WTM opened its doors to the travel and tourism industry in 1980 it has been a must-attend event for travel agents looking for the most up-to-date destination information to help them find the perfect holiday for their clients.

“With the help of industry associations such as ABTA, ITT, PATA, CTO and AAC I am confident this year’s WTM Agents’ Programme will be the best yet.”