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Leading operators set for autumn Future of Travel


Travel Weekly reporters


The leaders of three of the UK’s market-leading tour operators will be among the keynote speakers for Travel Weekly’s annual Future of Travel Conference, to be held in partnership with Google on Wednesday, September 15. The conference will take place


in London and will once again focus on the challenges and opportunities facing the travel industry at the close of the traditional summer season. Confirmed speakers include Tui


northern region managing director Andrew Flintham, Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy and easyJet holidays chief executive Garry Wilson, who will appear alongside a host of other leading executives from the industry and related sectors. The return to an in-person


conference follows two successful virtual Future of Travel events during the Covid-19 pandemic – last autumn’s Future of Travel Week and the recent Future of Travel Spring Forum – which both included interviews and discussions with many of travel’s biggest names. Lucy Huxley, Travel Weekly editor-


in-chief, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Google and confirm our first three outstanding


Andrew Flintham


Steve Heapy


Garry Wilson


FUTURE CONFERENCE


In partnership with September 15, 2021


speakers as we plan for the Future of Travel portfolio to return with its first face-to-face event in 18 months. “We have been fortunate to hear


from some of the world’s leading travel executives and experts from associated fields since the first Future of Travel event in 2019, and we know places will be in high demand as we plan yet another agenda-setting programme.”


Merlin Travel Group credits trust


model as membership hits 28 A consortium for agents and operators with a focus on bespoke packages has more than trebled in size during the Covid-19 pandemic. Protected Trust Services member Merlin Travel Group was set up in 2019 and entered 2020 with eight agents. It now has 28 members and credits its growth to changes in agent models and interest in trust-based operations.


8 1 APRIL 2021 She added: “The pandemic has


placed a previously unimaginable toll on travel businesses, which are now plotting their routes to recovery. Like all Travel Weekly business events, our Future of Travel conferences and forums aim to offer insight and advice as we look to support our readers and partners, and this will be no exception.” In addition to a focus on supply


and distribution with the three leading operators, the event will also include debates and presentations on a range of other topics in addition to


exclusive insight from Google. iWatch the Future of Travel Spring Forum for free at: vimeo.com/showcase/ futureoftravelspringforum


Beagrie, Marks and May secure places on Advantage board


Meon Valley Travel owner James Beagrie is to rejoin the board of the Advantage Travel Partnership in May, having previously served from 2013 to 2018. Two other non-executive member directors, Baldwins Travel’s Chris Marks and Worldwide Travel Solutions’ Sharon May, were reappointed following an election.


Caledonian Leisure targets the


trade with launch investment Coach and self-drive specialist Caledonian Leisure is to target trade partnerships after securing a multimillion-pound launch investment. The company was formed after the collapse of Specialist Leisure Group by the senior management team of coach operators Caledonian Travel and National Holidays. It now operates the Caledonian Travel and UKBreakaways.com brands.


travelweekly.co.uk


Agent seals £62k sale for 46-night Europe river cruise


A North Yorkshire agent said he felt “elated” after securing a £62,000 booking for a 46-night river cruise with AmaWaterways. Ian Bates, manager at Kyle Travel


Services in Yarm, made the booking for a couple who will embark on the Seven River Journey Through Europe cruise on June 1, 2023. They will start on board


AmaLyra in Paris and will stay on four ships as they visit 14 countries. Bates heard about the sailing –


billed as the river equivalent of an ocean world cruise – from Joanne Smithies, business development manager at AmaWaterways. He said he had been in regular


contact with the couple throughout lockdown, ringing them for chats every couple of weeks. “I thought they’d be interested


and they thought it was fantastic,” he said. “I was elated. It is a fabulous booking and a unique cruise.” The deposit was £7,400 and


Bates managed to increase the value of the booking when he secured a better cabin for the couple.


Ian Bates


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