Abta has confirmed its Travel Convention will go ahead in Tokyo next week despite the fall-out from the failure of Thomas Cook, one of the association’s biggest members.
Association chief executive Mark Tanzer said the convention on October 7-9 would discuss the current business climate and most-pressing issues, with “no issue more pressing” than Thomas Cook’s failure.
The Abta LifeLine charity will look to raise additional funds at the event in Japan to help Thomas Cook employees in most need.
Tanzer said: “Abta’s LifeLine is already in touch with ex-Thomas Cook staff to help provide short-term support for those in need, and I know travel companies are looking to pick up Thomas Cook staff with their undoubted skills and experience.”
His confirmation the convention will go ahead came after cancellation of two industry conferences due to be held in October in the wake of Thomas Cook’s collapse.
Midcounties Co-operative cancelled its retail managers’ conference in Portugal scheduled for October 10-14 on Friday after Hays Travel cancelled its Hays IG conference in Turkey on October 16-19.
Rad Sofronijevic, Midcounties chief operating officer, said: “It’s not the right time [to hold the conference]. Our priority is our customers and colleagues.”
Tanzer said: “The impact of last week’s failure has been very harsh and strongly felt, by customers, former employees and the many suppliers to the company.
“Together with the CAA, we’re working hard to mitigate the impact on customers. But the greatest pain will be felt by Thomas Cook staff who suddenly find themselves without employment.”
Tanzer said: “It’s at times like this that the industry really should and can pull together.
“The Travel Convention has, for many years, been where the industry comes together to discuss the current business climate and issues.
“No issue is more pressing than last week’s failure. I know delegates at the Convention will be mindful of the anxiety and difficulties being experienced at home and I hope that this year Abta Lifeline is able to generate more funds than usual to assist those in immediate need.”
He added: “Abta members have proved to be resilient through many events over the years and I’m confident that if we continue to work together we shall see happier days.”