More than half of speakers at the Guild of Travel Management Companies annual overseas conference will be from outside the business travel sector for the first time.

Sessions at next week’s event in Doha include Tim Mongomerie, founder and editor of political website, which represents UK grassroots Conservative opinion.

LinkedIn’s travel category director Laurie Kirschner and Simon Ferguson, managing director of Travelport UK will join Google’s Scott Field for a technology debate.

Three other sessions will focus on drivers of change for travel buyers, the business traveller of tomorrow and sustainability.

With a theme of  ‘Drivers of Change’, the conference on May 11-13 in the capital of Qatar will see keynote addresses by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, Gatwick CEO Guy Stephenson, Google head of online travel Scott Field and Deloitte’s partner Graham Pickett, head of travel, hospitality and leisure.

GTMC chief executive Anne Godfrey said: “We want to ensure that delegates get the right mix of speakers, presentations and ideas from within and beyond our sector and the theme Drivers of Change allows each session to focus on what is impacting every facet of our industry and what we can and should be doing about it.

“This year we have speakers from Barclays Corporate Finance, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Google, LinkedIn and Deloitte as well as a presence from ACTE and ITM.

“These speakers, coupled with the fact that a third of our delegates are ‘first timers’, illustrates how prestigious attendance at the GTMC overseas conference has become.”