The managing director of Kew Bridge Travel has become the first travel agent to join the committee of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata) UK & Ireland.
John Coles (pictured) is one of three new committee members, who also include Charlie Bateson, managing director of travel consultancy Purple Umbrella, and Chris Etheridge, business development manager at villa specialist CV Villas.
They will work with Pata UK & Ireland chairman, Chris Crampton, and fellow committee members to shape the association’s strategy for the year ahead.
Crampton said: “Kew Bridge Travel is particularly exciting as we have never had a travel agent as a committee member before; their first-hand experience on the frontline will bring a new perspective to our agent outreach and help us continue to grow our travel agent network.
“CV Villas will give us insight into luxury travel and multigenerational holidays; two markets identified to lead the return to tourism in the region.
“Purple Umbrella’s product representation in Thailand and Sri Lanka will give key insight into two of Pacific Asia’s top destinations.”
Coles added: “I’m honoured to be the first travel agent committee member, acting as a voice for all agents and working with the organisation to move forward with on-going ambitious plans on agent training and outreach.”
Bateson represents Sri Lankan destination management company Classic Destinations and Thai villa resort Samujana, which are both Pata members of the organisation.
He commented: “It seemed the perfect opportunity to become more involved to, hopefully, the benefit of not only my clients, but also myself and more importantly the wider travel industry.”
Etheridge added: “This year marks CV Villas’ 50th anniversary, and we are delighted to be expanding our portfolio with brand new destinations in the Pacific Asia.
“Sri Lanka, our newest destination to the CV Villas portfolio, is showing good recovery.”
Membership of Pata is free for travel agents.
Other board members come from tourism boards, marketing companies and operators.