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We will never take travel for granted again

Updated: Sep 16






“We will never take travel for granted again” was the theme for the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Conference this year which took place onboard MSC Cruises Virtuosa from 11-14th September 2021.








Dr Steven Freudmann F.Inst.TT. Chairman of the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) said “The coronavirus pandemic has presented immense challenges for the travel industry but it has also provided an important time for reflection. It has prompted us to look back on our past, reframe our future and savour the simple freedoms that we once took for granted.

The pandemic has encouraged us to have a renewed appreciation of travel. Never again will we underestimate the value of travelling to new places, meeting people, learning about different cultures, exploring local foods, and trying new experiences.”


Our Managing Director, Jo Roche with Business Development Director, Mandy Priest and our own ITT Travel Apprentice Ambassador, Chloe Lee went along to catch up with fellow ITT members and hear from the amazing guest speakers participating in the conference sessions.

From Left to Right: Mandy, Jo and Chloe from Northern Training Academy


The main sessions highlighted the issues faced during the pandemic, and opportunities to rebuild the travel industry, bigger and better than before with some especially inspirational speeches from Dame Irene Hays, Chair of Hays Travel speaking about the rollercoaster of challenges and emotions since the Thomas Cook acquisition in October 2019 right before the pandemic hit and how Hays Travel have come through the other side stronger than before.


Wendy Wu, Founder and Chairwoman of Wendy Wu Tours spoke of the issues being one the first businesses to be hit by the shockwaves of COVID-19 in much-loved destinations – China, Japan, Vietnam, and India. She spoke of the choices available to her which were ‘hibernate’ or ‘continue to work and grow’.

It is clear which option she chose, talking about the strength and confidence of her team, how they focused their passion and energy in to building a stronger business for the future, now welcoming customers both old and new.


Another session we found highly inspiring was from Jo Potier, Clinical Psychologist at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust whose speech focused on the role of compassion in our emotional recovery from COVID-19.

She spoke about how compassion can be “switched on”, and what switches it off, so that we can deal with the emotional baggage of the past 18 months and arrive at the other side psychologically healthy.


Other sessions were about the talent and education in the travel industry. Guest speaker Kate Harland, Graduate Tutor at Northumbria University and Member of ITT Education and Training Committee said “The passion to study travel has not gone away. Young people are still keen to pursue careers in travel despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”


Apprenticeships are a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce making it an exciting option for both apprentice and employer. You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates, to people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely. You can hire someone new or upskill an existing employee. As an employer, you can receive funding from the government to help pay for apprenticeship training. Speak to us today to find out how NTA can help your business recruit new apprentices or upskill existing staff with our dedicated and knowledgeable team of Learning & Development coaches.


Please email our Business Development Director, Mandy Priest for more information mandypriest@northerntrainingacademy.com

Highlights from the ITT conference


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