Senior figures from Google Travel and TripAdvisor are among the speakers lined up for this year’s Aito overseas conference.
The Association of Independent Tour Operators and Aito Specialist Travel Agents’ joint conference is in Cordoba, Spain, from June 11-14.
A mix of speakers from inside and outside the industry are set to talk, with topics to be debated ranging from the hazards of high-risk travel and natural disasters to the psychological fallout on holidaymakers and the key trends in travel online.
Niels Magill is a senior industry analyst from Google Travel and will be talking at the conference about the shifting online landscape and the changing customer journey. He is responsible for producing market insights by identifying key business drivers and trends that affect the sector.
Justin Reid is head of destination management organisation at TripAdvisor and will discuss the benefits of online customer feedback and how TripAdvisor maintains its site’s integrity and functionality.
Another senior speaker will be Damian Cook, founder and managing director of E-Tourism Frontiers, who will tell delegates how they can maximise their online investment and how the web has become the predominant channel for influencing travel decisions.
Airline issues and trends will come under the spotlight when Norwegian Airlines’ Mitchell Hawes is on stage, while the latest trends on sustainable tourism will be up for debate in a session headed by professor Graham Miller, head of school of hospitality and tourism management at the University of Surrey.
Kevin Tasker, a trauma consultant at the Centre for Crisis Psychology, will discuss the value of psychology in a travel crisis. An experienced clinician in trauma aftercare services in the UK, he has experience in training staff in the travel sector among others.
Colin Pereira, head of high risk security at ITN, will also be speaking at the conference. He has helped to build a media crisis management model, and has covered wars, natural disasters, terrorism and riots during his career and advised on high-risk investigations.
The joint founder of Gandys flip flops, Rob Forkan, will discuss how he created the company with brother Paul after the loss of their parents in the Boxing Day tsunami with the aim of funding their charitable foundation Orphans for Orphans.
The keynote speaker will be Mark Beaumont, a record-breaking long distance British cyclist, adventurer, broadcaster, documentary makers and author. He recently set a new world record by cycling from Cairo to Cape Town in just 42 days.
The three-day conference consists of a mix of business sessions for tour operators and travel agents, and will also include the preliminary results of the first Aito Insights 2015 report.
Chairman of Aito Agents, Gemma Antrobus, said: “There will be joint and separate business sessions in order for every delegate to return to their office with practical ideas to implement straight away.
“It’s no surprise that this year’s conference will cover many aspects of the digital landscape, with speakers from Google Travel, TripAdvisor and E-Tourism Frontiers.”
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