Travel Professionals celebrate a successful year of travel onboard Uniworld River Cruise

Irish Travel Agents Association 2016 Annual Conference took place on The SS Antoinette

The 2016 Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) Annual Conference took place this weekend on board a luxury river cruise from Amsterdam to Cologne, courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.  Over 115 travel professionals attended the conference where a range of speakers discussed past and future trends, business successes and new travel products.itaa-conference-2016-copy


Opening the conference, Cormac Meehan, President of the ITAA said, “Our business is all about partnerships and this conference offers us the unique opportunity to strengthen these.  Meeting with industry colleagues makes our businesses stronger together as we share information and develop our business practices.”


He continued, “As the travel trade sector continues to prosper we must focus on new travel products all the time. For 2017, we are urging consumers to book in advance as the pressure on accommodation resources in the main European resorts increases.  However, the ITAA will continue to liaise with suppliers in Spain and Portugal to secure more capacity for Irish holidaymakers.”


Meehan concluded, “Thanks to our hosts Uniworld River Cruises this weekend allows us the opportunity to experience a river cruise, the fastest growing segment of the cruise market. With the festive season and Christmas markets in full swing, this is an ideal time to experience beautiful cities and the stunning scenery along this spectacular European waterway.”


Speakers at the conference included; Managing Director of Tour America Mary McKenna, Director of Sales in Aer Lingus Yvonne Muldoon, Niamh Waters from Travel Media, Eilish Wall from Red Carnation Hotels and journalist and blogger Sarah Slattery.


Mary McKenna, Managing Director of Tour America, emphasised the importance of social media power and staff training while Yvonne Muldoon, Director of Sales in Aer Lingus, gave a presentation on the evolution of travel and the importance of strategic planning. Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert, spoke to attendees on the use of blogs as a sales tool. Eilish Wall, Red Carnation Hotels, presented on Luxury Travel which has seen a 4.5% compound annual growth rate and Niamh Waters spoke on e-books as informative resources for travellers.


Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA, commented, “This year’s conference has been a fantastic success. We would like to thank our host Sharon Jordan, of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, and our excellent sponsors Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport and Blue Insurance. Without their kind and generous support, this conference would not be possible.”


The ITAA represents Ireland’s travel Industry, bringing together 100 travel agent members and 70 affiliate partners. ITAA members cover over 140 outlets in different towns and cities throughout the Republic of Ireland. All travel agent members are licensed by the Commission for Aviation Regulation and are fully bonded providing full financial protection for their customers.