Palma.—With nearly 1'000 travel agents, tour operator directors and captains of the British tourism industry expected to descend on Palma in October for the ABTA convention, the Association of British Travel Agents, has this week opened accommodation bookings so that those wishing to attend the event from October 3-5 do not miss out.

ABTA has traditionally held its annual convention in Palma every ten years and was not due to hold the next conference until 2013 but, ABTA has decided to return to Majorca two years earlier than expected and give the island a welcome boost as it climbs out of the recession which has hit the global tourist industry for the past two years.

At the beginning of last month, ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer, travelled to Palma with a team of organisers for a site visit and to see which hotels were going to be used and discuss the programme of the convention with the Ministry for Tourism and the Director of the Spanish Tourist Board in London, Ignacio Vasallo.

Mark Tanzer ABTA's Chief Executive said: “We are delighted that this year's Travel Convention will be staged in Palma. “It will be the fifth time in ABTA's history that our annual gathering has taken place in Majorca's capital city. “This year's programme is shaping up to be one of the strongest yet and will be a not-to-be-missed event. I look forward to seeing everybody there.” In 2003, the main centre was the Auditorium with a huge marquee erected in the car park opposite, however the Pueblo Español was used for various social and corporate events and this October, the Pueblo Español will be hosting the three-day convention.

Mark Tanzer said this week: “The hotels arranged for the Travel Convention in Palma are all of an extremely high standard and very conveniently located for access to the Convention Centre and the excellent restaurants and bars in the city. “With bookings now open I would encourage delegates to book now to get the widest choice and guarantee that they get their first choice hotel.” This year is also going to be a very special year for British tour operator Cosmos which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is a headline sponsor of the convention and will be hosting a series of parties and special events to mark the milestone in the company's history.

New and exciting
The convention is a wonderful opportunity for the island's tourist industry to showcase what's new and exciting. Throughout the convention, delegates will be taken on a host of excursions around the island so those who perhaps have not been, can gain first hand knowledge which will help them sell Majorca when they get home, while those familiar with the island will be given the chance to discover what has changed and all the new activities the island's tourist industry now has to offer.