ITT to go ahead with Qatar conference

By Linsey McNeill
Home » ITT to go ahead with Qatar conference

The Institute of Travel & Tourism has announced it will hold its annual overseas conference in Qatar next summer, despite concerns surrounding the death of travel industry colleague Marc Bennett in Doha.

The decision was announced after an ITT Board meeting on Wednesday.

In a statement, ITT said that it ‘has long been committed to promoting travel as a force for good and looks forward to continuing that work in Doha’.

It added: “As a Board, we feel that we can achieve more for the memory of Marc Bennett by highlighting what Qatar needs to do for its future as a travel destination than by boycotting popular destinations.”

ITT had discussed whether it was appropriate to go ahead with its conference in Doha in 2023 following a report by The Times last week, which claimed that Marc, a former Thomas Cook and TUI director, had been arrested and tortured in Qatar.

Marc had been working for state-owned Discover Qatar promoting the country as a holiday destination ahead of its hosting of next month’s World Cup.

He had resigned from his job to return to the UK and had been offered a job working with a business in Saudi Arabia, but he was arrested in Doha at the office of Qatar Airways, the parent of Discover Qatar, after he’d been asked by his employers to return to sign some paperwork.

Marc was released after three weeks, but with alleged charges pending he was unable to leave Qatar and he was later found hanging in his hotel room.

His death had been labelled as suicide, but a UK coroner said there was ‘no specific evidence of suicidal intent’ before his death and that ‘the circumstances of the months leading up to his death remain unclear’.

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