The Institute of Travel and Tourism is to run a series of ‘question time’ debates regionally across the UK for the first time.
Chairman Steven Freudmann said the regional programme aimed to extend the reach of the ITT beyond London and followed renewed calls by members for events to be held further afield.
The events will be based on the format of the BBC TV show Question Time and will be open to around 50 members and non-members to attend for free. Members of the audience will be invited to submit questions to put to a panel of high-profile speakers on topical industry issues. Sponsors will be sought for each event.
Freudmann said: “Hopefully they will develop into industry forums and move around the country. I think there is considerable demand in the regions and there is an opportunity to step in where ABTA regional meetings left a big gap. We are after a much bigger audience; we will encourage agents to go but we will also encourage other sectors of the travel industry to go.”
ABTA ditched its regional meetings following flagging attendance and replaced them with its Talking Travel roadshows in 2007.
ITT’s first question time event will take place on September 29 in Manchester.
Meanwhile, the ITT annual conference in Dubai has ten places left. It currently has 390 delegates registered, just short of its 400 capacity. Freudmann said the current climate was affecting companies’ decisions on whether to send delegates but remained confident the places would be filled in advance of the event from June 8-10, 2009.