April 22, 2024

BTA Chair calls for action over talent crisis

BTA Chair Suzanne Horner has called on members and partners to join forces to help the industry tackle the current talent shortage and other issues.

At the association’s annual conference in Belfast this week, the Gray Dawes Group CEO told delegates: “We are facing challenges in manpower, capacity and rising costs. Never before has the industry needed you more.”

She said during the pandemic, politicians and other policy makers failed to recognise travel professionals as highly-educated and skilled people and instead expected some companies to fail and then others to come along and replace them.

“But, in fact, very few failed. Instead, everyone took the hit, our businesses fell off a cliff but we trundled through for 18 months and proved to the outside world that we are actually highly-educated, skilled, determined people and not just people who can be replaced,” she said.

“My appeal is for everyone here to help us drive the narrative, help us spread the word and help inject the fun back into this industry.”

She said the industry needs to do more to attract younger talent, with a show of hands in the conference room showing that only four delegates were under the age of 30.

Recognising its ageing population, the BTA has created a Next Generation Board with most of the 13 members under the age of 36.

A Chairperson, nominated by the members, will attend BTA Board meetings going forward to help shape the association’s strategy.

During the conference, the BTA also officially appointed four new Board Directors.

The newly-appointed members are:

  • Adam Murray, UK Chief Financial Officer, Flight Centre
  • Murray Burnett, Managing Director, Munro’s Travel
  • Kieran Hartwell, Managing Director of Corporate, Travel Travel Counsellors
  • Kevin Harrison, Managing Director Good Travel Management

Clive Wratten, CEO of the BTA, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Fab Four’ to the board. I have a lot of respect for each new member and look forward to the new energy and ideas they will bring. 

“We are pleased that we have Directors joining the board from across the UK, including business owners from Hull and Scotland, ready to bring a youthful dynamism to the team. It’s important to us that we are able to gain keen insights into business travel needs from across the UK directly from businesspeople and the new Directors will do just that.”