Hosting The Travel Convention

The Travel Convention is organised by ABTA – The Travel Association and is the UK travel industry’s flagship event.

Background information

The Travel Convention is organised by ABTA – The Travel Association – and is the UK travel industry’s flagship event.

The event provides inspiration to delegates through an outstanding programme of content, with thought-provoking ideas to challenge the way they think and approach their business, as well as unrivalled opportunities to network with peers and travel industry experts.

Over its 70+ year history, ABTA’s annual Convention has evolved with the industry and the Association continues to develop the event each year to ensure its value and relevance to its members, Partners and to the wider industry.

The Travel Convention is attended by decision makers, influencers and opinion formers spanning the full breadth of the mainstream and specialist travel sector, from tour operators and cruise lines, to all types of travel retailer. It is also attended by other travel providers, such as airlines and car hire companies, as well as travel industry specialists, from accountants and lawyers to technology and marketing experts. Approximately 75% of the attendees are ABTA members or Partners.

The event attracts leading travel journalists from the UK’s national, consumer and trade press, creating opportunities for the host destination and significant coverage of the event.

Delegate numbers for The Travel Convention are aproximately 400, providing delegates with a high-quality event and networking experience. This figure will help the host destination to budget for the event.

The Travel Convention traditionally takes place in early October, avoiding the British half term holiday period, and generally operates from Monday to Wednesday – albeit these days can be adjusted to suit local flight schedules.

The Travel Convention needs to be self-financing for the Association, without causing excessive expense to delegates. It must also be delivered to a high standard, to reflect the ABTA’s leading role within the industry and the professional seniority of the Convention’s delegates.

A competitive registration fee is charged to delegates and sponsorship is sought (from the UK travel industry) to cover the difference between the registration income and ABTA’s costs. To minimise registration fees for delegates, the host destination is asked to provide some of the facilities, services and events associated with the Convention. In addition, the host destination is encouraged to negotiate discounted accommodation rates and airfares for delegates attending the event. 

The event format

The format of The Travel Convention changes from year to year to suit the arrival and departure flight patterns, as well as on-going developments to the overall event programme.

As a guide, the format for The Travel Convention is set out here:


Cycle for LifeLine
Half and full day excursions

Industry Leaders Lunch

ABTA Members' Reception
Opening Ceremony
Welcome Party
Convention Bar


Press Conference
Business Sessions

Delegate Lunch
Business Sessions

Meet the Media Reception
Host Party
Convention Bar


Business Sessions

Delegate Lunch
Business Sessions

Delegates departures commence*
Convention Supper Club
Convention Bar

* Delegates will also depart the following day.

Benefits of hosting the event

There are many benefits to destinations hosting The Travel Convention.

It is an excellent opportunity to raise trade awareness of your destination, as the Convention benefits from extensive trade press coverage, in addition to the exposure generated by the marketing materials and regular e-flyers distributed to ABTA’s members, Partners and the wider travel industry leading up to the event.

Promotion for the event generally takes place over an eight-month period, providing a cost-effective alternative to trade advertising. Hosting The Travel Convention also provides the following opportunities:

Attracting senior figures from the UK travel industry to experience your destination.

Demonstrating your interest in, and support for, the UK travel industry.

Enabling senior officials to connect with the UK travel industry’s decision makers and influencers.

Communicating key messages to delegates via the event marketing and when addressing delegates at the Opening Ceremony.

Hosting up to 25 travel editors and journalists from the UK’s national, consumer and trade media.

Engaging with the media to generate coverage for your destination before, during and after the event.

Enabling 30 representatives from your destination to attend the event as complimentary delegates.

Key criteria

To follow is a summary of the main hosting criteria. For full details, please see the ‘detailed requirements’ section.

The host destination is asked to provide – either directly, or through local partners and/or sponsors – the following facilities, services, and events to ABTA without charge (unless otherwise noted):

Convention venue

  • A five-star hotel with an in-house conference facility, including a meeting room suitable for 400 delegates (with space for a stage set production) for five days.
  • Three offices for ABTA, organisers, and media.
  • Two lunches for all delegates (ideally seated).
  • Conference refreshment breaks for all delegates.

NB: An all-inclusive hotel is acceptable.

More details

Social events

  • A Welcome Party for all delegates.
  • A Host Party for all delegates.

  • Assistance to find suitable venues for other social events.          
  • Assistance to organise a cycle ride for ABTA’s LifeLine charity.             

More details


  • Complimentary return (direct) flights, including taxes for:
    • 25 invited journalists.
    • 25 ABTA staff and event organisers, of which 4 seats will be required in a premium class.
  • Complimentary airport/hotel coach transfers for all delegates for two days either side of the event.
  • Complimentary transfers throughout the event (between the Convention hotel and all Convention activities/social events.)
  • Executive car transfers for ABTA VIPs and guest speakers.

More details


  • 350 rooms at the Convention hotel (contracted and paid for by ABTA) of which...
  • Complimentary rooms at the Convention hotel for:
    • 25 ABTA staff/organisers (up to 175 room nights).
    • 25 travel journalists (up to 10 room nights).

More details

Inspection visits

  • Complimentary return (direct) flights in a premium class, accommodation, airport transfers and ground transportation for ABTA’s Chief Executive and Event Director to inspect the proposed venue(s).
  • 10 complimentary return (direct) flights, accommodation, airport transfers and ground transportation for event planning visits.

More details

Financial risk

  • The host destination to indemnify ABTA against any claims, losses or expenses arising from any negligence on the part of local suppliers, in the absence of fault or neglect on the part of ABTA.

Please note:

  • ABTA may not be able to consider your destination if another major UK travel industry event is due to take place there in the same or preceding year. However, a different city/location could be considered if it would not pose a threat to the attendance levels.

Responsible and sustainable tourism

ABTA is committed to building a more sustainable travel industry, working in partnership with our members, their customers and destinations. As such, The Travel Convention provides an opportunity to showcase sustainable tourism best practice within the host destination. We can support you to bring these practices to life through advertising, editorial and social media surrounding the Convention.

Convention venue/hotel

ABTA will provide the Convention hotel with complimentary membership of Travelife, the internationally recognised accommodation sustainability programme, for two years. This includes advice and guidance on how to reduce waste produced and water and energy used, as well as protecting the local environment, culture and heritage of their area, through to protecting human rights and children from exploitation.

If successful in passing the complimentary audit, the Hotel will receive Travelife Gold Certification, which is used by many of our members and tour operators around the world to promote sustainability in their supply chain.

Events and excursions

Events and excursions are an opportunity to demonstrate a destination’s conservation of the natural environment or cultural heritage, as well as management of environmental impacts and benefits for local people. ABTA’s sustainable tourism team can offer bespoke advice and guidance.

Through the event catering you can showcase local, seasonal, organic and fair food as well as innovative waste reduction approaches. ABTA’s sustainable tourism team and the Travelife team can offer advice and guidance.

In the excursion programme, the destination should consider and review potential reputational risks (such as animal welfare, an important issue to the UK travel industry), waste management (i.e. avoiding food waste and single use plastics) and maximising the benefit to local people.

Please also consider the following in the planning of the event catering: food waste, waste management (e.g. avoiding single use plastics), providing vegetarian/vegan options and avoiding foods that have animal welfare / conservation concerns.

Convention venue / hotel

Convention venue / hotel

The Convention venue should be a five-star hotel with an in-house conference facility, and should include:

  • Conference room for 400 delegates seated in theatre style – 5m or higher ceiling height – with space for a full production stage set.
  • Schoolroom style seating for the journalists – with power supply for their laptops
  • The conference room to be available for five days for set up, rehearsals and delivery of the business sessions.
  • Meeting room for 30 people for ABTA's Press Briefing.
  • Refreshment break area for all delegates, with space for eight sponsor displays (approx. 9sq m each).
  • Seated lunch facility for all delegates.
  • In-house conference facility furnishings.
  • Air conditioning/heating as appropriate for the time of year.
  • Overnight security throughout the occupancy period.
  • Lighting, power supply and cleaning services.
  • Exclusive use of the conference facility throughout the occupancy period.
  • 24-hour access to the conference facility for the event organisers.
  • Good quality, complimentary Wi-Fi within the conference facility.

Offices and registration

Three offices are required near the conference room as follows:
  • Press Office – with 12 desks and chairs and power supply for laptops and printers – Sunday to Wednesday
  • Organisers office – with 6 desks, 10 chairs and a meeting table – Saturday to Wednesday
  • 2 ABTA office – with 6 desks, 10 chairs and a meeting table – Sunday to Wednesday
  • Registration desk – with a counter, 2 chairs (or stools) and power supply – Monday to Wednesday
  • Refreshments – a complimentary refreshment service for journalists and staff using these offices

Convention Bar

  • A brandable Convention ‘cash’ Bar to be available from 11am – 2am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Assistance to negotiate reasonable prices for drinks.
  • Permission to supply entertainment, such as a DJ.
  • Details of any timing or entertainment restrictions due to local laws or hotel rules.

Convention Hub

  • A brandable networking/lounge area near the conference room.

Social activities

Welcome Party

  • Informal style Welcome Party on Monday evening (20:15-22:45).
  • Located at the Convention hotel, or within close walking distance.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Buffet style dinner.
  • Entertainment.
  • Wet weather option (if an open-air venue is proposed).
  • ABTA to approve the venue and the programme for the event.

Host Party

  • Host Party on Tuesday evening (20:30-23:00).
  • A venue with a memorable or WOW factor.
  • Buffet or served dinner.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Entertainment, including live music for dancing.
  • Wet weather alternative (if an open-air venue is proposed).
  • ABTA to approve the venue and the programme for the event.

Assistance to source...

  • Assistance to source an exclusive restaurant for the Industry Leaders Lunch for approximately 40 guests on Monday (13:00 – 15:30).
  • Assistance to source an exclusive reception venue for Meet the Media, for approximately 80 guests on Tuesday (18:30 – 20:00)
  • Assistance to source a route for a cycle ride in aid of ABTA’s LifeLine charity, for approximately 60 delegates on Monday morning, to be followed by a lunch (09:00 – 14:00)

Travel arrangements


  • Details of return flights from the UK to the host destination at the time of the event, together with guideline air fares.
  • Provide (up to) 25 complimentary return flights, including taxes for invited journalists.
  • Provide 24 complimentary return flights, including taxes for ABTA staff and event organisers.
    • four of which will be required in a premium class.

NB: The flights must be direct unless there are no direct services to the destination at the required times. For long-haul destinations, please also provide 10 x flights in a premium class for VIPs and guest speakers.


  • Complimentary airport/hotel coach transfers for all delegates (with coach management provided by English speaking staff) for two days either side of the event.
  • Transfers to any off-site venues included in the official programme of events
  • An information point (with English speaking staff) at the airport for any arrival transfer queries, for the main arrival dates.
  • Executive car transfers for ABTA VIPs and speakers

Inspection visits

  • Complimentary return flights in a premium class, accommodation, airport transfers and ground transportation for ABTA’s Chief Executive and Event Director to inspect the proposed venue(s).
  • 10 complimentary return flights for event planning visits.
  • Complimentary accommodation, airport transfers and ground transportation for the above planning visits.

NB: direct flights to be provided unless there are no direct flights at the required time.


  • 350 rooms for delegates at the Convention hotel. The hotel should be of five-star standard. Approximately 80% of the rooms will be single occupancy.
  • Room rates that represent a substantial saving on those available to consumers, to include breakfast and all taxes.
  • 25 complimentary rooms at the Convention hotel for ABTA staff/organisers (up to 155 room nights).
  • 25 complimentary rooms at the Convention hotel for invited journalists (up to 100 room nights).

The accommodation will be passed onto delegates at the Sterling equivalent of the rate offered by the hotels.

Accommodation terms

ABTA requests that accommodation release dates, cancellation, amendment and payment terms be in line with those agreed with previous Convention destinations/hotels. Details will be provided for discussion on the Inspection visit.

Excursion programme

If of interest to the destination, an excursion programme can be offered to interested delegates and journalists. The options include:


  • A programme of full and half day excursions on Monday that can be offered to delegates at a discounted rate.
  • A complimentary walking tour for delegates to take in the local tourist attractions (if appropriate).
  • A tailored excursion for the invited journalists who are in the destination on the Monday.

How to submit your bid

If you are able to meet all of the key hosting requirements, please notify ABTA providing brief outline details by writing to:

Mark Tanzer
Chief Executive

Your submission should be emailed to and copied to

Following receipt of your expression of interest and if your bid is appropriate, the Chief Executive of ABTA and Event Director will visit your destination to inspect the facilities.

Following this visit, and if the facilities are deemed suitable for the event, a proposal will be requested from the destination for submission to ABTA’s Board. This will be accompanied by a recommendation by ABTA’s Chief Executive for your destination to be favourably considered to host a future Travel Convention.

Click here to download
print version

For further information visit

If you have questions that are not answered in this document, please contact: 

Elaine Dellar, CEO, Dellar Davies Ltd – email: tel: +44 7850 486 989