Details of the first of several high calibre speakers who will be presenting at this year’s Travel Centres conference have just been announced. John McEwan, current Chairman of ABTA, The Travel Association, will address the owners/managers session on the Friday afternoon.
He was formerly Managing Director of Thomas Cook International and has enjoyed a number of high profile roles over the course of a career that spans 40 years. The eighth Travel Centres conference takes place at the Killashee House Hotel on the weekend of 2nd – 3rd November 2012.
Since joining the travel industry in a retail agency at the age of 17, John McEwan has worked for major travel brands in Thomas Cook, Lunn Poly and currently, Advantage Travel Centres, where he is Chief Executive.
During his early years in Thomas Cook, John’s roles stretched from agency and regional management in the UK and the USA, culminating in his appointment as Senior Vice President. He returned to the UK to become Retail Director before being appointed as Managing Director of Thomas Cook Travel UK. John oversaw a significant expansion of the business, culminating in a doubling in size of the retail network, the launch of Thomas Cook Direct and major expansion of foreign exchange into airports and HSBC. During this period, he also introduced the famous strapline: ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it’.
John was then appointed Managing Director of Thomas Cook International, a global role spanning over 50 countries with travel and foreign exchange outlets worldwide as well as a major financial services business.
In 2000, he then moved on to join the Thomson Travel Group as Strategic Development Director before becoming Managing Director of Lunn Poly, then the UK’s largest travel retailer. During this period he led the transformation of the financial performance of the business by introducing foreign exchange and also dramatically improving productivity. He was subsequently appointed as Retail Director of TUI UK.
In September 2004, he became the Chief Executive of Advantage, the UK’s largest consortium of travel agents, a role he currently occupies. As CEO of Advantage, John has successfully led the process of turning Advantage into a profit-making organisation, has been instrumental in increasing the organisation’s standing as the UK’s most respected independent travel consortium, with the highest level of member engagement since the organisation was formed 30 years ago.