News

John Devereux is New ITOF President

John Devereux is New ITOF President

John Devereux, General Manager of American Holidays, has been elected as President of the Irish Tour Operators Federation at their annual meeting in Alicante, Spain.He told Irish Travel Trade News: “The principal function of the Irish Tour Operators Federation is to speak with one voice for the tour operation industry, such as on issues like the volcanic ash cloud and VAT.

“The biggest issue currently is the level of bonding and the fact that dynamic packaging sites and airlines are not covered by the legislation and bonding requirements. Tour operators and travel agents have a common cause here. ITOF made an eight-page submission to the Department and we will keep lobbying for change.”

ITOF 1

Newly elected President John Devereux entertains ITOF members and hosts at La Finca Golf Hotel & Spa Resort in Alicante, Spain

ITOF 2

John Devereux is congratulated by Gonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Spanish Tourism Office in Dublin, and outgoing ITOF President Philip Airey of Sunway

Outgoing ITOF President Philip Airey of Sunway said: “Competition has never been stronger for Irish tour operators and, in a stagnant market where sales for 2013 are forecast to be at the same level as 2012, operators must strive to exceed expectations with their customers in order to gain market share.

“Unlike many global bedbank portals, tour operators invest in their product range by researching their destinations, carrying out site inspections on an ongoing basis and ensuring that standards are maintained in all properties. They also have a direct relationship with the hoteliers, often block booking rooms or even entire hotels on a year-round basis.

“It is this re-assurance that our customers want and only operators who continue to invest in this product development will hold or gain market share in these tough trading conditions.

ITOF 3

All the ITOF agm delegates: Gonzalo Ceballos, Spanish Tourism Office; Flan Clune, ITOF Chief Executive; Helen Caron, Falcon/Thomson Holidays; Kevin Nolan, Topflight; John Devereux, SHGI / American Holidays; Philip Airey, Sunway; Ray Scully, SHGI / Crystal Holidays; and John Kinane, Thomas Cook Holidays Ireland

“It’s not just about offering thousands of different hotels to pick from thumbnail pictures, it’s a selection and recommendation process. I think most people want some guidance and a comfort factor when investing in their holiday.

“As tour operators we own our holidays. If there is an issue we can deal with it on the ground because we have representatives on hand, we have a duty of care to our clients, and we want them back next year.

“People also need to ensure that they are comparing like with like, from room type and baggage charges to transfer costs – and not to forget that all ITOF members are fully bonded and licensed.”

ITOF members account for 90% of all outbound packaged holidays and the organisation represents the major tour operators in Ireland: American Holidays, Crystal Holidays, Falcon/Thomson Holidays, Sunway Holidays, Thomas Cook Holidays, and Topflight.

 

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Michael Flood is the Editor of Ireland's leading travel industry publication, Irish Travel Trade News. With more than 35 years experience, he has accumulated an in-depth knowledge of the airline industry and the travel and tourism world.

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