It had been a few years since I’d last attended the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association annual dinner, so at this year’s event last week I was delighted to discover that none of the traditions I remembered had fallen by the wayside.
From the thistles given to every guest on arrival to the stirring address of the haggis, and from the dram of whisky at every place setting (which I was made to down in one!) to the brilliant bagpipers playing us out, the event was as memorable as ever.
But this was a dinner based on more than just pomp and ceremony. The SPAA is a fiercely proud association and has stood up for its members’ rights and won many battles.
And so it was no surprise that president Jimmy Martin’s address was as impassioned as ever (page 6).
He remarked that some may have thought he was banging the same old drum, but added: “At least my drum is still banging.”
And with that he was into his stride, giving his forthright views on APD and more frequent Iata reporting, the Package Travel Directive and the changes to the Small Business Atol, Tui’s online discounting and the increasing number of incentive schemes.
He even had time to warn dnata against the potential consolidation of Gold Medal and Travel 2.
Martin spoke with intense passion and a frank honesty, pointing out that if you don’t say it like it is, you lose your integrity.
“And integrity,” he said, “is what every agent needs, along with a huge amount of love. Then all the money and goodwill will come to you.”
I’ll certainly drink to that.
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