This year’s Travel Convention took place virtually
As expected, Marrakesh will host the 2021 Travel Convention – after this year’s event was held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Moroccan city, which last hosted the conference in 2005, was due to host the 2020 Convention, which took place on October 14 and saw Grant Shapps make a controversial address.
Mark Tanzer criticised the speech, reminding the transport secretary that “we are still in the middle of this crisis”.
“It was very retrospective, about what they’ve done and how grateful the industry should be for this,” ABTA’s chief executive said. “Furlough did save jobs but it’s about what happens over the next six months. ”
Situated at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh is known for its famous Jemaa El Fna square, its bazaars, riads and palaces.
The Convention will take place in October 2021 at Palmeraie Resorts Marrakesh under the Moroccan National Tourist Office (MNTO) host.
The country has recently announced the relaxation of its borders to UK residents – although it isn’t currently on the much-maligned travel corridors list, meaning returning Britons will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
It is currently served by two airlines from the UK; Royal Air Maroc operates from London Heathrow into Casablanca three times weekly, while Air Arabia departs from London Gatwick into Tangier twice weekly.
Ryanair has announced it will resume operations to Morocco within the next two weeks, with Liverpool servicing Marrakesh and Manchester to Agadir.
Meanwhile, ABTA has called on the government to provide urgent support for the travel industry in a bid to help boost consumer confidence.
In statistics released during the event, ABTA revealed that just 15 per cent of people took a foreign holiday between February and July 2020, compared to 51 per cent over the previous 12-month period. The year before it was 64 per cent.
More than half (53 per cent) of people said they took fewer overseas holidays this past year compared to the previous year, with 87 per cent of those saying they took fewer holidays because of coronavirus.
However, while coronavirus was the reason people did not travel, the government’s restrictions and last-minute changes concerned 93 per cent of people, rather than the virus itself. 80 per cent said they were concerned about having to quarantine when they returned.