/Reflecting on the ABTA Convention in Tokyo

Reflecting on the ABTA Convention in Tokyo

Published on Monday, October 14, 2019

It’s been a week since the start of the ABTA Convention in Tokyo and the majority of delegates are now back at their desks. It was the first ever ABTA Convention held in Asia and was, in TravelMole’s opinion, one of the best so far. It was certainly one of the most memorable, shaped by the collapse of Thomas Cook, the coinciding World Cup Rugby, and Typhoon Hagibis.

Delegates enjoyed fabulous food, entertainment, and had time to explore the delights of Tokyo. Many took the opportunity to see more of Japan, joining tours put together by the Japan National Tourist Office. 

The business sessions, under the theme ‘Brave New World’, were memorable too, dominated by debate about Thomas Cook, Brexit, and climate change. There was some compelling stuff from the speakers, at times leaving ABTA delegates stunned into silence, but there was also some light-relief and laughter too. From hard-hitting facts to things that made us chuckle, here are some of the comments which have stuck in TravelMole’s mind, followed by a round-up of our Convention coverage.

Brexit is a blip compared to climate change
Dr Gabriella Walker, writer and broadcaster

There’s a big difference between English sausages, German sausages, and American sausages
Philippe Gas, president and managing director Walt Disney Attractions Japan

Blockchain is…a chain of blocks
Alistair Pritchard, lead partner travel Deloitte

Far from signalling the demise of the package holiday, the Thomas Cook failure has been its vindication
ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer

There’s no way around it. I can’t sugar coat this in any way that makes it more palatable. We need to fly less and we need to encourage our customers to fly less. If you’re going to stop the planet heating above 2 degrees, I can’t see how you can do that without stopping flying.
Tim Williamson, customer director for Responsible Travel

A love of tea and gardening, an obsession with our royal families, extreme politeness and bouts of public drunkenness, the Japanese and the English have a lot more in common that you might think
Marcel Theroux, novelist and broadcasters

50% of holiday happiness happens pre-trip, 15% during and 35% after
Patrick Marsden, head of travel, MaCher

Research shows that brands with an audio identity are 96% more likely to be recalled than those with no music or audio identity at all
Global creative director Jo McCrostie

The whole cruise industry depends on the splendour of the oceans so there’s nothing more critical to us than making sure we coexist
Tony Roberts, vice president UK and Europe Princess Cruises


Here’s a round-up of TravelMole’s ABTA Convention coverage:

ABTA to resist any rise in ATOL levy

Travelopia chief outlintes plans to ditch brands

ABTA delegates caught up in typhoon lockdown

Destination revealed for ABTA Convention 2020

Dnata insists agents share customers’ contact details

Bidding wars break out for Thomas Cook shops

EasyJet to sell through agents

EasyJet Holidays adding 200 extra hotesl after Thomas Cook collapse

Expert gives bleak Brexit forecast

Thomas Cook was failure of corporate finance, not travel

Government right not to bail out Thomas Cook, says ABTA chief

DoT urged to crack on with airline insolvency review

Travel industry told to fly less

Millennials and Gen Zs most likely to book holidays in store

More under 35s are choosing to cuise

Money floods in for ABTA Lifeline Thomas Cook appeal

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