The prestigious annual conference of the British Association of Tourism Professionals ITT - Institute of Travel and Tourism opened today in Split. The ITT conference will take place from 10 to 12 June at the Le Méridien Lav Hotel and attracted to Split more than 400 leading delegates and British tourism representatives such as VisitBritain, British Airways, easyJet, TUI, Thomas Cook, Lonely Planet and others. The hosts of the ITT conference, which is the only professional tourism association in the UK, whose members are the leading general managers and leaders of the British tourist industry, are the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board and the tourist boards of Split and Hvar.
A welcome and introductory speech at the conference was held by the Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Tonči Glavina, as well as by ITT President, Steven Freudmann.
"It is a great honour for Croatia to be chosen as the host of this very important conference which has attracted the leading people of the British tourism sector to our country. This is the result of a proactive two-year long negotiation process to make our country host the conference, and the first impressions of our British colleagues are extremely positive. I am sure that this conference will further contribute to the positioning of our country as a quality and attractive tourist destination on the British market", said the Director of the CNTB, Kristjan Staničić, adding that the positive trends from the UK market have been maintained in the first part of the year, which saw some 200 thousands arrivals and more than 890 thousand overnight stays, representing a 5 percent increase in comparison with the same period last year.
ITT President Steven Freudmann presented the work of the ITT and the new members, and stressed that they are delighted by the overwhelming hospitality, the amazing beauty and the quality of the Croatian tourist service. "Such hospitality is hard to put into words. There is no reason why your country should not be one of the top destinations for British tourists. Thank you Croatia, thank you Split, and the Split region", Freudmann said.
Among the conference participants and speakers are also esteemed guests such as Lord Andrew Adonis, former British Minister of Transport and Education who will talk about the impact of Brexit on the country's inbound and outbound tourism, while Carol Dray, the Commercial Director of VisitBritain, will talk about the new roles and goals of the British national tourist organizations aimed at promoting the country.
British Airways representatives will hold a special presentation since this year marks the company’s 100th year anniversary. The role of new technologies in data analysis and product design, the importance of communication in tourism promotion, cruise travel, among other topics, will also be discussed at this year’s conference.
In addition, the newly appointed director of the CNTB Representative office in London, Darija Reić, the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board Director, Joško Stella, City of Split Tourist Board Director, Alijana Vukšić, and the City of Hvar Tourist Board Director, Petar Razović, are also in attendance.
"We are honoured to have been chosen to host the annual conference of the British Association of Tourism Professionals. As hosts, we will have the opportunity to present our destination to the leading tourism managers from Great Britain, a market which has seen a two-digit market growth over the last few years, and this is yet another step towards building up our presence in this extremely important market", Stella said.
City of Split Tourist Board Director, Alijana Vukšić, pointed out that this event is of great significance for the city of Split, especially given the fact that before Split, the world-renowned tourist destinations such as Tel Aviv, Malta, Abu Dhabi, Venice and Dubai had the honour of hosting this conference. "Our goal is to exchange knowledge and experience with an emphasis on the opportunities that the global tourism market brings. With the exchange of knowledge, tourism experts will have the opportunity to get to know the beauty of Split and the Split-Dalmatia County", Vukšić concluded.
The agenda of the conference includes organized tours and visits to some of the most attractive tourist locations and sights in the county, with emphasis on Split, Trogir and Hvar.