The last few days at the Travel Convention - which this year took place at the stunning Yas Viceroy Hotel on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi - have provided delegates with a packed programme of inspirational and thought provoking workshops and presentations, to help enable them to steer through the ever-changing environment in which we all must operate. With a theme of Time Travel, this year's Convention gave us a chance to hear from expert speakers from inside and outside the industry on how to prepare for a future that at times appears unclear and uncertain.
Uncertainty was a word that was used often - particularly in relation to our current political situation. At times like these, it is encouraging to see the industry come together and important for us to consider the bigger picture.
One business which has faced considerable uncertainty over the past few weeks is the Monarch Group. We were incredibly pleased to welcome Monarch CEO, Andrew Swaffield, to Abu Dhabi to break the news to the industry in person of Monarch's successful investment, and he received a very warm and positive reception from all our delegates.
In addition to the welcome news from Monarch, other Convention highlights included cultural trends expert Thimon de Jong who introduced us to the concept of 'phubbing' - snubbing people by constantly checking our phones in social situations, former F1 mechanic Marc Priestley who revealed how small marginal gains can result in peak performance and Silver Travel Advisor MD Debbie Marshall who provided an entertaining and thought provoking look at the older traveller. We were also honoured to be joined by Paralympian Lee Pearson CBE whose humorous account of his struggles and career was truly inspirational.
I would like to thank and congratulate our host Etihad Airways, and our destination partners Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, Yas Island and Hala Abu Dhabi, as well as all of our UK sponsors, for making the Convention possible. Feedback from delegates has been incredibly positive and we have all been extremely impressed by Yas Island and Abu Dhabi itself whose ambitious 2030 vision looks set to be achieved.
For those of who were not able to attend we have put together video highlights which are available here and I look forward to seeing many of you next year at the Travel Convention 2017 in the natural paradise that is the Azores. We are delighted that the Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (APAVT) and the regional government of the Azores will host the event.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive