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“Last year I helped McFly singer Harry Judd propose to his


It has been suspended for being in breach of the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (“Florida does u-turn over driving licence

requirements”, while the California Department of

Motor Vehicles looks in to this. For more information see FCO Travel Advice. Nicholas Lee, Broadland Travel

With its partners such as Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and frequent flyer unity, as well as similar in-flight classes, I urge Virgin Atlantic to please look at Star Alliance (“Virgin Atlantic mulls SkyTeam membership”, With code-shares, the future will be brighter for Virgin with Star Alliance and open up a world of options. David Hall,

New Zealand Encounters TTG POLL

The majority of respondents (44%) to our poll said companies do not do enough to support female talent. However, just under a third (30%) said they thought the sector was doing enough to develop talented women, while 26% said only some were doing enough.

26% 44% 30%

■ No ■ Yes ■ Only in some companies


MANAGEMENT Chris Kilbee managing director 020 7955 3785

EVENTS Ellie Martin events producer 020 7955 3751

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With meat or travel – trust will win the day

THE HORSE MEAT scandal is a story that just won’t go away. For weeks now we have heard how more and more supermarket retailers, school dinner providers and now even the hotel company Whitbread have been implicated in the story. With the meat production chain

spreading right across Europe and in many cases companies being unable to properly trace exactly what was being put into meals, the story has shaken consumers’ trust in household supermarket brands. The ongoing scandal further undermines consumer confidence and from a Tipto point of view has many striking parallels with the travel industry. My local butcher, Will, claims to know his meat from “grass to gravy”. As an independent butcher he doesn’t just buy and sell meat, he has turned his role as a comprehensive business into assuming responsibility as a pillar of the local community. Similar to manager-owned independent travel agencies and homeworkers who have extended their role of travel agent to more than just reselling travel products. Will manages his own small abattoir so controls the process of

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Zena Calderbank, Tipto chairman

buying, preparing and selling meat. Not only that, but in this age of traceability, he publishes weekly listings of all of the farmers that he buys stock from, complete with contact details. He believes that it is vital that customers “have full confidence in the food that they buy”. This horse meat scandal highlights once again that big brands have let their customers, staff and shareholders down by putting profit and cost- cutting ahead of customer requirements and cohesive business practice. A familiar story in the travel business pages. At the end of January a group of independent travel companies and

retailers met at the TTGoffices to discuss the “state of independence” in travel. It was highlighted that independent high street retailers were on the increase despite the ongoing decline of shops on the high street. Travel is considered to be a must for all families but ongoing changes to government policy, business failures, uncertainty around security in certain destinations and high- profile holiday shock stories all mean people want experience and education when they buy their holiday, rather than a one-stop homogeneous service. This confidence in the retailer

overrides price parity. Back to the “age of traceability”, customers are showing that they are prepared to pay more for honesty and integrity. The horse meat episode has seen customers abandon supermarkets in their droves and return to the trusted independent butchers. Sales from independent meat retailers have grown 75% since the news broke. Trading figures by the supermarkets are yet to be published but are expected to report significant downturns in trading. Trust once again is equated with independence.

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girlfriend Izzy. Months later, people still ask me about it!” SANDRA JN BAPTISTE ON PLANNING WEDDINGS IN ST LUCIA, P42



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