By Gemma Greenwood
It's time to head to pastures new.
For those of you that are parents, you will no doubt have experienced the anguish of leaving your child at the school gates on their first day of school, or shed a tear when as a teenager, your ‘baby' flocked from the nest, moving out of the family home as they entered adulthood.
I am yet to embark on parenthood in this sense, yet it is time for me to say farewell to my ‘baby' - Arabian Travel News - a magazine that I have nurtured since its birth in March 2006, as I leave for pastures new.
Since its inception, Arabian Travel News has mirrored the fast-paced growth of the region's travel industry and has gone from strength to strength.
It has become the must-read travel trade publication in not only the Middle East, but globally, due to its willingness to address issues that impact the lives of travel trade professionals.
Arabian Travel News has always been proud to tell it how it is and for that I have to thank you, the readers, for your honesty, openness and enthusiasm for both the industry and the publication.
I do hope this will continue in the future as the magazine looks to grow and develop new products and services.
In fact, 2010 looks set to be an exciting year for Arabian Travel News with many new initiatives in the pipeline.
The publication will continue its focus on developing custom-made ‘how to sell' destination supplements, which have proved immensely popular over the past few years. But perhaps more exciting is the plan to launch a brand new awards programme designed to reward the unsung heroes of the travel trade.
The Arabian Travel News Awards 2010 will recognise the region's travel agency community, which, in the past few years in particular, has been faced with many challenges, from commission cuts to recession and the direct-sell tactics of suppliers. From the frontline consultants who strive to improve their product knowledge and upgrade their customer service skills, to the agency manager who has to ensure he hits his targets while keeping his workforce up-to-speed, motivated and inspired, the awards will reward passionate people who go that extra mile. See page 4 for more details.
And last but not least, 2010 will see the launch of ATN's own dedicated website, bringing you breaking industry news as well as vital services such as training to help you keep your selling skills up to scratch.
Despite my departure this month, you might well see my name crop up from time to time in ATN as a mother can never really leave her child totally abandoned!
I have crossed paths with some truly wonderful people during my past four years overseeing the travel and hospitality group here at ITP and I will endeavour to stay in touch with you all.
I thank you again for your support of ATN and its sister publications and hope that 2010 is a happy and prosperous year for you all.
Gemma Greenwood is the senior group editor of ITP Business' travel & hospitality tiles.