Data protection, cyber security, sustainable tourism and the future of the travel industry will be among the issues under the spotlight at this weekend’s Aito overseas conference.
The Association of Independent Tour Operators has reported record numbers for the conference in Evora, in Portugal’s Alentejo region, with 165 delegates signed up. These include 77 delegates from member tour operators, 18 Aito Specialist Travel Agents and 40 people representing affiliate companies.
Just over 150 delegates attended last year’s overseas conference in Jordan.
Aito chairman Derek Moore said: “We’ve seen record numbers book the conference this year and quicker take-up than ever before.
“The conference theme Reasons to be Cheerful will focus on the many challenging issues ahead of us in the coming year and how we can look together at the positives that can come out of adversity, if we take the right approach.”
Speakers at the conference include Stephen Hall, founder and director of Acuity Group, who will talk about new data protection laws coming into force next year, and Martin Brackenbury, managing partner of Brackenbury & Partners and a director of Classic Collection Holidays, who will discuss sustainable development and over-tourism. Culture Matters managing director Chris Smit will share thoughts on how to improve company culture and diversity.
Current issues facing the travel industry will also be discussed by a panel including Abta’s head of financial protection John de Vial; Sunvil and Aito Industry Issues chairman Noel Josephides and Haslemere Travel managing director and Aito Agents panel chairman Gemma Antrobus.
Motivational speaker and adventurer Dave Cornthwaite, founder of social enterprise SayYesMore, will be taking delegates through his life journey and encouraging his way of thinking to make the world a happier place.
Antonio Padeira, director of the Poruguese National Tourist Office in London, said: “We are delighted to welcome the AITO conference and its inspirational speakers to Evora this year. As the hosts, we are confident the UK’s specialist operators and independent travel agents will have a most successful event and that they’ll enjoy networking and learning, as well as getting to know the wonderful region of the Alentejo.”
Conference business sessions will be held at the Hotel Vila Galé Évora and the Convento do Espinheiro.
Meanwhile, Aito has also welcomed a new tour operator member this week, bringing the total number of members to 116. Enable Holidays specialises in holidays for people with mobility impairments and offers more than 500 accessible hotels, villas and apartments.
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