Reasons to be cheerful at this year’s Aito conference


This year’s AITO overseas conference will take place in Evora, Portugal (23 to 26 November 2017) with the theme Reasons to be Cheerful.

Sponsored by Tourismo de Portugal and TAP Air Portugal, the event will  aim to bring a positive outlook in the face of the current climate of global instability and political unrest.

There will be speakers from inside and outside the travel industry, giving delegates an insight into industry topics, including the influence of technology, data protection issues and inspirational stories as well as talks on what the future holds in travel.

High-profile speakers will include:

Martin Brackenbury, managing partner of Brackenbury & Partners and director of Classic Collection Holidays: Formerly a director of Thomson Travel Group, Martin was a Professor at Nottingham University and is currently special advisor to the Secretary General of UNWTO.

Over the past 30 years he has advised Governments and the private sector on the development of responsible tourism in more than 40 countries. At the conference he will be speaking about the tourism industry, competitive strategy and sustainable development.

Dave Cornthwaite, adventurer, author and motivational speaker: Since 2015 Dave has been a record-breaking adventurer, motivational speaker, author of multiple books, maker of little films and founder of SayYesMore – a social enterprise that nudges people towards their potential. Dave will be taking delegates through his inspirational life journeys and encouraging his way of adventurous thinking to make the world a happier, healthier place.

Chris Smit, MD of Culture Matters: Amsterdam-born Chris is a consultant and coach and has worked in more than 45 different countries, sharing his knowledge of cultural diversity and company culture. He has experience in implementing programmes and giving seminars on intercultural business and cultural awareness.

AITO chairman, Derek Moore, said: “We’ve seen record numbers book the conference this year and quicker take-up than ever before. The beautiful town of Evora in the Alentejo region has really drawn in the crowds and the Portuguese National Tourist Office has been hugely supportive in their organisation of the event.

“The theme, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’, will focus on the many challenging issues ahead of us in the coming year and how we can look together at the positives that can come out of adversity, if we take the right approach.”

Antonio Padeira, director of the Portuguese National Tourist Office in London, comments: “We are delighted to welcome the AITO conference and its inspirational speakers to Evora this year. As the hosts, we are confident that the UK’s specialist operators and independent travel agents will have a most successful event and that they’ll enjoy networking and learning, as well as getting to know the wonderful region of the Alentejo.”

Chairman of AITO Agents, Gemma Antrobus, says: “The conference this year is a fantastic mix of culture, gastronomy and entertainment, all in a beautiful setting of the charming and fascinating Alentejo region of Portugal.

“Along with the excellent business sessions on offer, the conference and post-conference tours will take delegates on nature treks, food and wine tastings and cultural visits; it’s a great introduction to a little-known region of Portugal.”

The conference business sessions will be held at the Hotel Vila Galé Évora and the Convento do Espinheiro.

Pictured from left to right are: Vitor da Silva, Alentejo Tourism Promotion Board chairman; Ana Manuel Mendes Godinho, secretary of state for Tourism; Derek Moore, AITO chairman; António Padeira, director of Portuguese Tourist Board’s London office; Antonio Lacerda, Alentejo Tourism Promotion Board GM

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