Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Travolution@ABTA 2006 - Sparks fly

Ahead of our flight to Malaga this afternoon, word reaches Travolution Towers of a turbulent first session at the ABTA convention this morning.

David Speakman, of Travel Counsellors fame, who famously ditched his ABTA membership last year, was invited back to sit on a panel, alongside Mark Tanzer and Justin Fleming of ABTA, Richard Evans of the Civil Aviation Authority and Paul Evans of Low Cost Travel Group.

Enter stage-left, Sarah Montague, of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme – a moderator who will clearly not tolerate any bad behaviour.

Speakman was, in the words of our spy, on “fine form”, laying into Fleming about the size of the ABTA board and questioning its use of members’ cash.

The feisty atmosphere continued, with Fleming hitting back – verbally, of course – and Montague continually trying to calm down the proceedings.

The discussion was also meant to address serious concerns over bonding, regulation, etc.

But it was “an hour of getting nowhere”, came the cry from one delegate. “Isn’t this where we were 16 years ago?” asked another.

It appears it’ll take more than a team building week to sort this lot out.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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