The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) is predicting its 2010 annual Specialist Travel Agents conference will be one of the best attended yet.

The event, which attracts more than 60 AITO tour operators and about 100 delegates, will be held on January 16 and 17 at the Hilton Warwick.

It will offer agents the opportunity to learn about new products, destinations and brochures, as well as provide AITO members with a forum for debate, discussion and networking.

The agents’ marketplace will take place on Sunday morning, while the finals of the AITO Agents Mastermind competition will be held on Saturday, hosted by AITO chairman Derek Moore.

The previous rounds of the Mastermind competition comprised an online quiz followed by regional semi-finals. The four individual travel agency finalists will now battle it out in the finals for recognition as the most knowledgeable travel agent in the UK.

The top prize is a trip to Spain with runners up winning fam trips to the country.

AITO Specialist Travel Agents chairman and Traveltime managing director Barry Moxley said: “With the economy on the brink of a comeback, now is the time for the travel industry to cement relationships for the future.

“AITO tour operators and AITO Specialist Travel Agents have an excellent rapport and we expect this conference will be one of the best attended yet.

“One leading agent, Hyde Barker Travel with three branches, is so committed that it is sending its entire staff to the conferences. That is a testament to the cause, and we hope other agents will follow suit.”