Travel Daily catches up with the chairman of ANTOR, Tracey Poggio.
What is the purpose of ANTOR (the Association of National Tourist Offices and Representatives)?
ANTOR’s objectives include providing a fraternal forum for its members to meet and exchange ideas, to forge close relationships with all other sectors of the travel industry; to be recognised as one of the foremost advocates of responsible tourism and to comment on a wide range of issues affecting worldwide travel and tourism.
You are celebrating 65 years, have there been many changes in the association over that time?
The structure and membership has remained very similar. The organisation has a voluntary board of directors in the past 30 years and a paid part time secretariat. There used to be monthly member luncheons attended by at least two thirds of the membership with a speaker. Today everyone is short on time and the working lunch has become less and less popular. Our events for the special sectors are Antor Meets the Trade / Antor Meets the Media and Antor Meets the MICE. For our members we have regular seminars and debates in the evenings and an annual half-day conference.
What other changes have you seen?
Over the past 10 years as Chairman I have witnessed a growth in other associations more aggressively encouraging Antor’s members such as ABTA and AITO to become partners offering different packages and benefits. Ideally, budgets permitting, an ANTOR member would get involved in all three organisations. However, ANTOR is the only official association in the UK for Tourist Boards and the portal for media, trade and consumer to find the contact details of a tourist board and therefore takes priority.
Can other members of the Tourism Industry be involved?
Involved Yes and we actively encourage as many sectors and individual companies to get involved in our events and seminars. Membership – NO, this is restricted to the official tourism representative in the UK of a city, region or destination.
What are ANTOR’s plans for 2018?
For 2018, ANTOR will follow the same strategy as this year. We are going to kick-start the year with our Annual Review in January.
2018 is going to be busy with each month having different events, conferences and seminars to attend. Our special sector events will take place from May to September which includes our three big events such as Antor Meets the Mice, Antor Meets the Travel Trade and Antor meets the Media.
The later quarter of the year will be busy with the WTM during which we will have our second annual networking dinner at the House of Lords. We will close the year as every year with a Christmas event in December.
Is ANTOR a member of any other organisations?
Antor is a member of the Fair Tax for Flying campaign lobbying government to reduce and ideally eradicate this tax to give the UK a better competitive position.
We are also members of the Tourism Alliance which sets up meetings with government officials to discuss tourism issues.
We sit on the WTM advisory committee and have actively supported WTM on their initiative to reduce the number of days to a more compact and dynamic 3 day event.
We meet annually with the FCO, ABTA, AITO and BGTW to discuss and debate the wider issues that affect the industry
Is membership open to tourist boards without a UK office?
Absolutely, with the evolution of the digital world several of our members e.g. Estonia and Hungary are now based in their head offices and attend the key events remaining in contact with the market through their presence on our website and email/ social media. This is something we accept we need to grow as the digital working environment continues to fast trade.