Published on : Thursday, January 14, 2021
Travel Forward – the travel technology event co-located with WTM London – and part of the WTM Portfolio, which also includes WTM London, Arabian Travel Market, WTM Latin America, WTM Africa and London Travel Week, has announced two new senior appointments.
Richard Gayle is stepping down as Exhibition Manager after more than three years in that role and Simon Press will take over as Exhibition Director from January 2021.
Meanwhile, Fiona Ashton – Marketing Manager for sister brand Arabian Travel Market – will take over from Maria Trochoula, who is leaving her role of Marketing Manager for Travel Forward.
Simon Press has held senior roles with parent company Reed Exhibitions since 2007 and became Exhibition Director at WTM London in 2010.
Furthermore, he is Exhibition Director for sister event London Travel Week – launched in 2019.
Fiona Ashton also has many years of experience in the events sector, having worked for Reed Travel Exhibitions in 1996-1999 and again from 2012.
Simon Press said that Richard and Maria have done a great job to establish Travel Forward as the leading travel technology show and they have performed exceptionally well during the incredibly challenging circumstances this year.
Fiona and I will build on the strong foundations they have laid as we develop the Travel Forward brand next year and beyond not just in London but across the WTM portfolio at the Latin America, Africa and Arabian Travel Market events. They have ambitious plans to raise the profile of Travel Forward as the travel industry bounces back in 2021.
Fiona Ashton added that their experience of working with WTM and Arabian Travel Market – especially during the deep crisis we faced during the pandemic – mean that Simon and I have a great overview of the global travel industry, so we can bring our extensive expertise to the Travel Forward brand.
“Our knowledge, contacts and track records ensure that Travel Forward can evolve and innovate, making it the must-attend event in 2021 as the industry recovers.”
Commenting on his move, Richard Gayle said: “Managing Travel Forward has been a great experience, both professionally and personally, and I’m incredibly proud of what the show team has achieved since it was launched in 2018.
I’ve been lucky to work with some incredibly talented and knowledgeable people and I wish the team, our customers and partners the very best on their path to recovery post pandemic.”
More than 5,000 travel executives and 100-plus solution providers are expected to attend Travel Forward 2021 (1-3 November) for three days of insightful debate and unrivalled networking opportunities.
Being co-located with WTM London means that Travel Forward attendees gain access to both events.
Simon Press concluded: “Our teams across all our brands have proved to be very adaptable, resilient and creative during 2020, and we gained huge amounts of experience as we held ATM and WTM in virtual formats for the first time.
“We’ve had great feedback from exhibitors who held valuable business meetings and attended conference debates and sessions.
“News that vaccines are beginning to be approved and delivered gives us all hope that we can meet again at our events in 2021 – and we can incorporate the valuable experience we have gleaned this year to offer extra virtual options to those who may not be able to travel.”