Atas unveils new chair for trade engagement working group

The Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (Atas) has appointed a new chair for its trade engagement working group.

Richard Forde, head of trade sales at Newmarket Holidays, will hold the post for the next two years, taking over from Janet Parton, sales and marketing director with the Globus family of brands – Cosmos, Globus and Avalon.

He will be supported by seven executives from Atas supplier members, along with Claire Brighton, Atas account director.

Working with Forde will be former chair Parton plus Mark Walter, national sales manager, Hurtigruten; Stu Darnley, national sales manager, G Adventures UK; Connie Georgiou, sales director, Silversea Expeditions; Becky Francis, head of sales and business development UK & Ireland, The Travel Corporation; Joanna Reeve, EMEA head of industry and tailor-made sales, Intrepid; and Gary King, head of trade sales, Wendy Wu Tours.

New members of the group are Walter, Georgiou and King.

The group meets regularly in person and online to talk about ways that Atas and its members can help agents develop their knowledge and secure more bookings for touring and adventure holidays.

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Forde has been in travel for 25 years, selling escorted tours for most of that time.

“I got the travel bug in my early 20s as a photographer for Royal Caribbean,” he said.

“Since then, I’ve worked in the touring market with reader offers, magazines and the trade.

“I’ve now been with Newmarket for 12 years, managing a fantastic team.

“I hope to bring my experience to help with the other members and Claire to strengthen our opportunities.

“I want to strengthen the trade’s growing appetite for touring. It is often a lightbulb moment when an agent sells touring for the first time – I want to help raise the profile of this growing sector, so it becomes part of their ‘go-to’ bank of ideas and brochures for their clients.”

Brighton added: “I am delighted that Rich will be the new chair of our engagement group, taking over from Janet who has served for the past two years.

“As the market returns to 2019 levels or better, it’s so important that Atas works closely with its supplier and agent members to find out what they need from the association and how best we can deliver that support.

“I look forward to working with Rich and the group to develop fresh initiatives to raise the profile of our lucrative and growing sector.”

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