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Newsletter: January 2017

Dear fellow Abtarians,

The past 12 months have been a lot quieter for yours truly.

As you may remember we changed the name of our group, largely to coincide with the wishes of those within ABTA in the hope that we would see some co-operation in increasing our membership numbers. Unfortunately that support has so far not arrived - primarily because ABTA themselves have got their own trials and tribulations to contend with - don't let anyone mention Brexit or Airport expansion in the South-east anywhere near Park Street SE1.

And so we plod on.

If everyone of us were to examine our old diaries and notebooks I am sure that we could find others who we could interest in joining the Abtarians Society.

Our net membership is fairly stable at the moment but it is with great sadness that we witnessed the passing of John Harding and Giulio Ugo this past year.

At the AGM we welcomed two new members, namely Keith Haynes and Jim Strachan, both of whom I am sure will prove to be a fine asset to our society. We also saw two ladies who have supported our events for years as partners of members who have now been granted membership status in their own right, namely Ann Partridge and Teresa Brain.

Our "Away Day" committee have been working very hard as usual and whilst the weather was against us in Krakow (solid rain for the first 3 days) the food, the transfers, the beer & wine, the fellowship and the organisation was superb (thanks Alex) but luckily the weather was on our side for our visit to Bath and Tortworth Hall (thanks Doug). In 2017 our "Away Day" committee will be organising a trip to Liverpool and we will be Eurostarring a trip to Bruges either before or after our AGM (thus reducing travel costs for members who live a distance from London.

Teresa and I hope to be taking a trip on Fred Olsen lines in February to get away from the British Winter and in case anyone has forgotten our Society is registered for the Family & Friends status with Fred Olsen Cruise lines and in case you are not receiving their emails you can check for yourselves each week the availability by inserting the following line of code into the search box when you are on the internet:

So finally may I wish you a very Happy New Year and please hunt through your old diaries and business card collections in case we can interest other travel trade colleagues to join our number.

Best Wishes, Colin Brain

Trip to Krakow 5th October 2016

On 6th October some 18 members flew to Krakow for a short stay and some sightseeing.

We stayed at the Golden Tulip Hotel well situated in the centre of Krakow and enjoyed some splendid Polish hospitality. The only problem was the weather as it rained most of the time we were there but it didn't dampen our spirits.

On the first day most members joined a walking tour of the City which was pretty well untouched by the 39/45 War and has some splendid squares and buildings, then on the second day we had a sobering visit to Auschwitz which was pretty strenuous and thought provoking, but proceedings were brought to a close with a group meal in a typical Polish restaurant.

A big thank you to Alex McLeman for all the arrangements which ran so smoothly with all the complicated logistics and we look forward to our Spring visit to Liverpool.

Spring Visit to Liverpool

Following our discussions at the AGM and your responses to Doug Chapman's survey, you decided that our Spring Trip should be to Liverpool.

On research I agree that Liverpool is a brilliant choice. The city has something for everyone, e.g. The Beatles museums, Cavern, Penny Lane, Magical Mystery Coach tour, Walker Gallery. Mersey Ferry. Maritime Museum, Titanic exhibition, Albert Dock, the Waterfront, magnificent Cathedral, Liverpool 1 Shopping Centre, Annfield & Goodison Park. There are also some great pubs, The Philharmonic has been recommended. Those of you who have been there before will have your own favourites.

I have booked rooms in the 4 star Pullman hotel for the nights of 10 & 11 May. The Superbreak discount brings the cost on a B&B basis to 102 pp for 2 nights double occupancy, and £195 pp for 2 nights for sole occupancy. As usual we will have a group meal, probably on 10 May. (The cost in the Pullman is £25.00 per person, but if members can suggest an alternative venue, I will be happy to check rates etc.

Superbreak also offer a 15% discount on rail fares, and I will be happy to get quotes from Superbreak if requested.

We have a limited time to firm this up, so on receipt of this e-mail I would welcome a speedy response. Can you please let me know if you intend to join us for this trip. I would also appreciate a reply if you are unable to make the trip. This will save unnecessary chasing. I hope the Events Team have carried out your wishes and I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards to All,
Alex McLeman

Dates for the Diary

We have booked dates for the AGM & Christmas lunch (19 September and 12 December) both at the same venue as last year, but I am aware that the upcoming membership questionnaire may want us to seek other places. Doug is working on the Bruges visit and details will be sent for your consideration shortly.

Abtarians Society - The Future!

Your committee are keen to have your views on the future of our society. There have been no serious numbers of people seeking to join us, in spite of a range of initiatives through ABTA and the trade press. Equally, our events (while still well attended) tend to be supported by a limited range of people. Much of this is inevitably the effects of ageing, but we would like to be sure that we are not missing out on arranging events which meet the needs of everyone. Please help us by completing this questionnaire and emailing it to

Thanks in advance for your input. If you have ideas on some questions, please set them down and don't feel you have to answer everything else.

With all best wishes for the New Year

Colin Brain