May 9 2014  |  Catering

ITCA announces liquidation

By Rick Lundstrom

After more than 30 years as a part of the travel catering industry, the International Travel Catering Association announced it is liquidating its operations.

A statement dated May 7 was sent by E-mail from the Association’s headquarters to announce the end to the group. This morning, the ITCANET.com website had also been closed down.

“Starting in 1980 ITCA believes that it has successfully achieved many of its original goals,” said the statement from the London area-based Association. “Since those days, the industry has developed considerably and it appears that there is no longer a requirement for such an organization. Indeed, the demand for the Association’s activities has left it in a position that it is unable to continue trading"

ITCA started as the International Flight Catering Association and held its first conference and trade showAssociation Founder Willie Seeman in the ballroom of the Waldorf Hotel in London’s Aldwych, and continued it yearly in European cities. One of the guiding forces throughout the group’s history was its Founder, Willie Seeman.  Through the years, he led the work to establish the association’s network of international committees, education activities, and publications and introduced the Mercury Awards to recognize and reward innovation within the industry. He continued to be involved in the Association up until his passing in 2012.

The group changed its name in 2005 to reflect its efforts to reach out to other travel sources. Shortly thereafter, it began hosting another trade show in the Middle East.

However, the main trade show began to experience a drop in attendance and interest. In June of 2011, ITCA announced it had sold its yearly event to Reed Exhibitions, organizers of the Aircraft Interiors Expo. It was rebranded as the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, which is now held yearly in Hamburg, in conjunction with the Aircraft Interiors Expo.Each year ITCA held a Mercury Awards competition honoring innovation in the industry

ITCA continued to operate a scaled down event in the Middle East in Dubai and later in Abu Dhabi. The Association also continued to offer its HACCP workshops, which it held throughout the world.

For years, two travel catering associations held events in the early part of the year. The International Flight Services Association, which meets in the U.S. moved its yearly exhibition to the fall season.

“The International Travel Catering Association made many contributions to the global travel service industry over the years, including their European Expo,” said IFSA President Pam Suder-Smith.  “We wish all of their staff and membership the best.”

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