AITO operators and AITO Specialist Travel Agents recognised top members at the first-ever joint overseas conference, held 16-19 June, 2011, in the emerging destination of Vilnius, Lithuania.Awards were presented to a number of AITO operators, agents and individuals during the farewell gala dinner, held at Vilnius’s Town Hall; celebrating their contribution to the AITO community.
The Operator Awards were voted for by all AITO Agents (and vice-versa with the Agent Awards).
Classic Collection Holidays picked up the accolade of Top AITO Operator, with runners-up Kirker Holidays (2nd place) and Sunvil Holidays (3rd place). Carrier was named Best AITO Tour Operator Newcomer and Sue John from Sunvil Holidays received the Superb Service Award.
The Top AITO Agent award went to Travellers World, with runners-up Robert Broad Travel (2nd place) and Haslemere Travel (3rd place).
Off Broadway Travel (Welwyn) was recognised as Best AITO Agent Newcomer and past AITO Agents’ Chairman and TravelTime’s Managing Director, Barry Moxley, picked up the Outstanding Achievement Award.
The conference, which was combined to celebrate two milestones - the 35th anniversary of AITO and the 15th anniversary of AITO Agents – saw a mix of speakers from both inside and outside the travel industry. Speakers included former Chief Executive of Hoseasons, Richard Carrick, on how to run a successful customer-centric business; Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Costa Coffee Foundation, Piers Blake, talking about creating a successful sustainability programme and Alastair Donnelly of InsideJapan Tours revealing its disaster management experience following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier this year.
The new joint conference format reinforced links in the spirit of the Closer Ties scheme between AITO and AITO Agents, with Chairman of AITO Agents, Oliver Broad, announcing the launch of a Closer Ties ‘Gold’ status to recognise AITO operators that go above and beyond in support of the partnership. It also allowed for further agent-operator networking, with the aim of leading to more direct-sell operators learning about the opportunities and benefits of working with the UK’s leading agents.
During the conference, sponsored by the Lithuanian Tourist Board, delegates had time to explore the picturesque city of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, by enjoying walking and sightseeing tours, as well as an excursion to medieval Trakai.
For more information about Vilnius and Lithuania go to www.lithuaniatourism.co.uk.
For more information on AITO, see www.aito.com, and for more information on AITO Specialist Travel Agents, visit www.aitoagents.com.