The Institute of Travel and Tourism has announced Abu Dhabi as the 2013 location for its annual overseas conference, despite earlier denials that it had chosen the Emirate.
Guests at last night’s President’s Dinner at The Dorchester in London were given the news by Institute chairman and chief executive Steven Freudmann.
However, only two weeks ago when Travel Weekly approached him to say it understood the destination had been chosen to host its annual conference he insisted that was simply “not true” [see image for our story in Travel Weekly October 18].
Portugal was understood to be a potential short-haul option after this year’s event was hosted by Barbados but Abu Dhabi came in with an attractive offer.
It is not known if there was a late change of heart, although Travel Weekly understands Abu Dhabi had been confirmed for some time.
Sponsor Etihad is offering delegates £350 return flights and registrations open today. The conference will take place in the new Fairmont Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Freudmann said feedback from members prompted ITT to opt for a mid-haul destination. The ITT conference was last held in the Middle East in 2008 when Dubai played host.
The event has since visited Benidorm, Venice and Barbados. In 2006 it was held in another Middle Eastern destination Oman.
Freudmann had previously told Travel Weekly five destinations had made “serious expressions of interest” to host the 2013 event and all had been considered.
“The one that is hosting it was the keenest to host and met all our difficult criteria, which includes one five-star hotel that can accommodate all delegates,” he said.
The BBC’s political correspondent Nick Robinson gave the after dinner speech at last night’s President’s dinner.
ITT announced Amadeus as its first technology partner, the European GDS and software giant becoming one of ITT’s main corporate backers.