Royal Caribbean International is the new headline sponsor of Abta’s Travel Convention, succeeding Fred Olsen Cruise Lines after 12 years.
Fred Olsen regularly hosted more than 20 agents at the event but this year did not renew its partnership with the association.
Abta’s 2017 Travel Convention will be in the Azores, due to be held on October 9 to 11.
A spokesman for Abta said: “We can say that after 12 years of very successful partnership, Fred Olsen has stood down as a headline sponsor for the Travel Convention and we are pleased to announce Royal Caribbean International as a new headline sponsor for the 2017 Azores Convention.”
Mike Evans, head of sales for Fred Olsen, said the move was due to its increased focus on agents as the line offers more fam trips and agent training; including its mega fam trip to the Indian Ocean in November.
He said: “We have been a headline sponsor for the past 12 years and the exposure we have had for our brand at the Convention has been extremely positive.
“In the last couple of years we have been striving to get even closer to our agents and we felt this was an opportune time to step down from the Travel Convention and to look at other ways in which we can engage with our Travel Agent community.
“This year with the introduction of our River Cruising programme as well as our new Fly Cruise Brochure to exotic destinations we felt that the time is right to do something different.
“This year we are offering more educationals and agent training visits than ever before on our ships, we are for the First time running a Mega Fam to the Indian Ocean to highlight our new Indian Ocean Fly Cruise Brochure with full commission on flights.
“We are also hosting agents at Ascot and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. In the coming months we have a number of agent lunches planned across the country where agents will have a chance to quiz our top management teams and we are also the headline sponsor of the SPAA summer in the city event in Edinburgh for the third year running later this month.
“In addition we are also sponsoring aspects of Travel Weekly’s AAAs as well as taking a dozen agents as our guests.
“As you can see, we are really “upping our game” when it comes to engagement with the travel trade.”
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