Executive director Kate Kenward has resigned from Aito, The Specialist Travel Association, and will leave the organisation in March.

Kenward has held the role for ten years, and will see out her notice until March 7.

Chairman Derek Moore said: “Kate has led Aito through thick and thin over the past 10 years, facing many of the challenges that the travel industry throws at all within it during that time. She will be sorely missed by her board of directors, by Aito members and by me.”

Kenward added: “I have enjoyed my time at Aito, but 10 years is a long time to spend in a company these days. It’s time I moved on to new opportunities and challenges, using the experience, skills and network I have built up over the 30 years I have been in the travel industry.

“Apart from being a director on Aito’s Council, I have managed a lively and diverse membership of over 300 companies – tour operators, travel agents, affiliate tourist offices and business partners. It has been satisfying to watch Aito member businesses grow and prosper; many have been acquired or merged into larger organisations, which is an ongoing trend.

“The Aito role is a fascinating one and I’m proud to have played my part in creating an organisation that’s fit for purpose and ready to be handed on to the next baton bearer. I’m a firm believer in the specialist travel sector of the industry and feel that its future is both solid and bright.”

Kenward leaves behind Aito’s five-strong headquarters team – membership manager Bharat Gadhoke, accounts and office manager Pam Hersey, events and partnerships manager Yvonne Kinder, digital marketing executive Sunny Singh and marketing and events assistant Tom Doyle.

Aito is on the lookout for applications from “suitably experienced and qualified applicants” for the role.