Over 200 members attended the 63rd RDA AGM & Annual Conference from 2nd to 5th April 2014 in the picturesque and walkabout towns of Bruges and Ypres in Flanders Belgium. This year’s conference motto was “Border-free travel – a path to understanding between peoples”. RDA President Richard Eberhardt in his opening address stressed that the RDA saw its mission in opening up to Europe, winning new members and entering new co-operations and alliances in order to effectively represent RDA members’ interests in an ever-changing continent.
The internationalisation of the RDA in order to achieve federation goals was a central tenet of his office since the very beginning. He was delighted that coach tourism was now held in high public standing but said that work still needed to be done to ensure a positive and sustainable image for our branch. Opening up to new ideas and concepts was essential in accomplishing this.
This was especially the case for the future development of the RDA-Workshop in maintaining its pole position as the leading international sales, purchasing and business networking platform for all doing business in the coach and group tourism sectors. While it was important to attract exhibitors from throughout Europe to the exhibition it was equally important to attract trade buyers as well. Efforts to reduce language barriers were important in accomplishing this. The RDA President thanked all involved in this dialogue and process over the past months – in particular Karin Margret Kohls, who retires in 2014, for her many years as successful and charismatic Managing Director of the RDA-Workshop Touristic Services GmbH.
RDA CEO Dieter Gauf reported on the numerous activities of the RDA federation over the past year. Political lobbying in both Berlin and Brussels was now one of the RDA’s core tasks. This was complex work which required constant new thinking and analysis in order to achieve federation goals and to keep abreast of new areas and themes where action would be necessary. RDA lobbying in the European Parliament and EU member states had been successful – thanks also to the crucial role played by Sandra van de Walle in the RDA Brussels office. That RDA members received a good return on their investment was exemplified by RDA membership benefits such as legal and taxation advice, RDA-Workshop, market research, RDA-Academy seminars, regional seminars and get-togethers and much more.
Elections were held at this year’s RDA AGM. RDA President Richard Eberhardt was re-elected unopposed for a further three-year term of office as was RDA Treasurer Bernhard Kirschbaum. Oliver Gröpper of Neubauer Reisen in Flensburg, Germany, was elected to the RDA Board. His key areas of interest are quality and marketing. Richard Eberhardt thanked retiring Board member Eva-Maria Wagenhäuser-Müller for her 12 years of service on the RDA Board. RDA auditors Rold Wienecke and Manfred Gruber were also re-elected.