ABTA Unveils Latest List of Confirmed Speakers for This Year's Hybrid Travel Convention

This year’s theme is Leading the Way – envisaging and inspiring in extraordinary times

ABTA has unveiled the latest line-up of expert speakers for this year’s Travel Convention on Wednesday 13 October, who will be offering valuable insight into how they’ve responded to the challenges posed by the pandemic and sharing their vision for the short- and long-term future of the travel industry.

Announced today, Manuel Butler, newly returned as Director of the Spanish Tourist Office in the UK, will discuss how destinations can rebuild from the impact of the pandemic and how Spain – a hugely important destination for UK outbound travel – is leading the way in adapting to changing consumer behaviours. 

Also announced today is Julia Simpson, who took up her new role as President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council last month. She will address delegates on the importance of strong leadership as the travel and tourism sector emerges from the Coronavirus crisis.

MD of Intrepid Travel, Zina Bencheikh, and Vice President EMEA at Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ben Bouldin, will join a panel discussion exploring how the industry can place sustainability at the heart of its recovery.
These four new speakers add to an already impressive list of travel industry big hitters and senior figures from the wider business world (in alphabetical order):

  • Zina Bencheikh, MD, Intrepid Travel
  • Ben Bouldin, Vice President EMEA at Royal Caribbean Cruises and Chair, CLIA UK & Ireland 
  • Manuel Butler, Director, Spanish Tourist Office
  • Richard Carret, Vice President Alliance Development & Communications, Star Alliance
  • Graham Hales, brand and marketing expert
  • Suzanne Horner, Chair of the Business Travel Association and CEO, Grey Dawes Travel
  • Ailsa Pollard, CEO, dnata Travel Group (UK & Europe)
  • Tom Johnson, Managing Director, Trajectory
  • Alistair Rowland, ABTA Chair and CEO, Blue Bay Travel
  • Julia Simpson, President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council
  • Andrew Swaffield, CCO for the Virgin Group & CEO for Virgin Red
  • Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive, ABTA
  • Mohsin Zaidi, Author of A Dutiful Boy
  • Moderator: Chris Ship, Royal Editor, ITV News

Driven by the theme, Leading the Way – envisaging and inspiring in extraordinary times, topics to be tackled in this year’s keynote speeches, high-level business sessions and panel discussions include how innovations in the world of travel are set to shape the industry, what the future holds for business travel, and how we can adopt new ways of working to build better and fairer organisations. 

This year’s Travel Convention will offer delegates the option to attend either in-person at East Wintergarden in London’s Canary Wharf or online via a customised digital platform. 

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association 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.”

Fees for ABTA Members and Partners are £155 for the online event and £295 for the in-person event, while non-Member fees are £255 to join online and £395 to join in-person.

Headline sponsors to date are Avis Budget Group; Global – the entertainment and media group; Royal Caribbean; and Star Alliance. The full speaker line up will be available via the website in due course. 

For more information and to register, please visit www.thetravelconvention.com.