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Four more speakers confirmed for Abta Travel Convention

Four new speakers have been added the line-up taking the stage at next month’s hybrid Abta Travel Convention in London.

Manuel Butler, newly returned director of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK, will discuss how destinations can rebuild from the impact of the pandemic and how Spain is leading the way in adapting to changing consumer behaviours.

Julia Simpson, who took up her new role as president and chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council last month, will address delegates on the importance of strong leadership as the sector emerges from the Covid-19 crisis.

Intrepid Travel managing director Zina Bencheikh, and Royal Caribbean EMEA vice president Ben Boudin (both pictured, below) will join a panel discussion exploring how the industry can place sustainability at the heart of its recovery.

Ben and Zina

This year’s theme is ‘Leading the Way – envisaging and inspiring in extraordinary times’ and the event takes place on October 13 in-person at East Wintergarden in London’s Canary Wharf or online via a customised digital platform.

Fees for Abta members and partners are £155 for the online event and £295 for attending in person, while non-member fees are £255 to join online and £395 in-person.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “As the travel industry’s flagship event, the Travel Convention always brings together an esteemed list of speakers to debate the most pressing issues facing the travel sector – and this year’s event is no exception.

“This year, more than ever, it’s important for us to come together to reflect on the events and learnings of the past 12 months and inspire our delegates to envisage and embrace what the future holds for the travel industry.”


Confirmed speakers, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Zina Bencheikh, managing director, EMEA, Intrepid Travel
  • Ben Bouldin, vice president EMEA at Royal Caribbean Cruises and chair, CIia UK & Ireland
  • Manuel Butler, director, Spanish Tourist Office
  • Richard Carret, vice president alliance development and communications, Star Alliance
  • Graham Hales, brand and marketing expert
  • Suzanne Horner, chair of the Business Travel Association and chief executive of Grey Dawes Travel
  • Ailsa Pollard, UK and Europe chief executive, dnata Travel Group
  • Tom Johnson, managing director, Trajectory
  • Alistair Rowland,Abta chair and chief executive of Blue Bay Travel
  • Julia Simpson, president and chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council
  • Andrew Swaffield, chief commercial officer for Virgin Group and chief executive of Virgin Red
  • Mark Tanzer, chief executive, Abta
  • Mohsin Zaidi, author of A Dutiful Boy
  • Moderator: Chris Ship, royal editor, ITV News

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