Simon Calder has been confirmed as headline speaker at the Elite conference.

Calder, who is Senior Travel Editor at The Independent newspaper, is known for his honest, albeit controversial assessments of travel industry matters.

He recently became the bête noire of independent Travel Agents with his comments about the cost and availability of cheap summer holidays.

As well as hearing his views on the travel industry, Calder has also agreed to participate in a Questions & Answers session. This gives a unique opportunity for delegates to question him about his stance and opinions on travel industry topics.

The conference will be held at the Apex International Hotel in Edinburgh over the weekend of October 4-6, 2013.

Organised initially by Elite primarily for its members and suppliers, it has been decided to widen the net to attract all Independent Travel Agents to a conference that concentrates on relevant topics rather than solely consortium issues.

It will therefore be known as: The Travel Conference for Independents by Elite.

Also confirmed as a headline speaker is Noel Josephides, who will  speak in his role as Chairman of ABTA, concentrating on the planned EU amendments to the Package Travel Directive.  Alan Bowen from AGB Associates will also be highlighting the detailed response he gave to the Department for Transport when they requested the Call for Evidence in relation to planned changes to the ATOL regulations.

Neil Basnett (Chief Executive of the Elite Travel Group) says: “We are delighted to be holding this conference in the beautiful city of Edinburgh: this is an attraction in its own right! Due to the quality and relevance of the speakers confirmed to date together with presentations from some key suppliers, we felt that there was an opportunity here for other independent Travel Agents to attend as key issues will be discussed. With attendance costs deliberately kept low, this should prove to be a truly relevant conference for any independent Travel Agent as it does not discuss internal matters”.

In order to encourage independent Travel Agents, 'Visit Scotland' has been involved in the planning of the conference from the outset. The hotel has been chosen for its central location thereby giving delegates the opportunity to stay on in Edinburgh to see more of the city and surrounding area.

Further details of prices and bookings can be obtained from Wendy Albutt at:


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