THE travel industry’s fascination with black-tie dinners has fallen foul of Australia’s notorious heat and humidity.

ABTA has decreed that delegates will not have to struggle into ill-fitting DJs for its President’s Dinner at the Cairns convention.

However, there is a catch – all diners will have to come dressed in black and white.

As the rest of the business sessions will also be on a casual-dress basis, the code for the dinner will also be relaxed.

Expect to see Newcastle United shirts, penguin and panda outfits and, for that special Aussie feel, Collingwood football shirts (for the uninitiated, Collingwood is Oz’s most famous Aussie Rules team).

ABTAchief executive Ian Reynolds said the enlightened policy on dress was down to the Queensland heat.

“I expect it to be pretty hot, up around the 30s, and the dress code will make it much more comfortable for delegates,” said a cool Reynolds.

Guests will, however, be expected to treat the conference with the respect it deserves and ABTA has advised delegates to arrive in at least polo shirts or something resembling smart casual – whatever that is.

As ever ABTA was also thinking of ways to help members to travel more efficiently. “Our policy will also make packing easier,” said Reynolds.

He added that he was undecided on what he would be bringing to wear during the Australian conference.

But, ABTA insiders have told Backchat that Reynolds will be sporting that peculiar Australian dress code of white knee-length socks and sandals. Reynolds could not confirm this clothing decision, but issued a raucous laugh when asked the question. So don’t be too surprised if you see Reynolds wandering around looking like an American tourist.