03 Oct

The Travel Convention: bringing the industry together

Next week the annual ABTA Travel Convention takes place. The Convention is always a useful forum for the industry to come together to discuss issues, and, following last week’s failure of Thomas Cook the visit to Tokyo comes at an opportune time. No current issue is more pressing and delegates will be fully mindful of the anxieties being felt by all those affected. 
It has certainly been heart-warming to see the industry’s response to the human cost of the company’s collapse, as well as the passion shown by Thomas Cook’s dedicated people. Our own charity, ABTA Lifeline, is in touch with employees in need of help and will, as always, be a visible presence at the Convention where I am sure it will be well-supported by delegates.
The impact of the failure of Thomas Cook has been harsh and will be strongly felt. As the reverberations continue, ABTA is working hard to mitigate its impact. The repatriation phase is now giving way to the initial refunding of payments. In ABTA’s case, the refunding of payments has already started, and the ABTA team has been busy behind the scenes doing what it can to support Members on other issues such as facilitating access wherever possible to systems and records and highlighting areas of concern with the CAA. We have also continued to manage a high volume of media and customer enquiries, our role as the voice of the industry is extremely important in times like this.
Whilst this support continues in the UK, next Tuesday at the Convention I will be using my keynote speech to acknowledge and address current industry issues, but also remind Members, Partners and other delegates of the considerable benefits that travel and tourism bring. 
Economies and people depend on tourism; it can support culture and natural environments and it will be this too as well as encouraging the industry to come together that ABTA will be protecting and promoting in Tokyo this year.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive