ABTA defends 8.5% membership fee hike

ABTA fees
By Lisa James
22/05/2023
Home » ABTA defends 8.5% membership fee hike

ABTA has defended its decision to increase annual subscription rates by 8.5%, saying it is ‘not immune’ to current inflationary pressures.

Agents were informed of the fee increase in an email at the end of last week, which also said the association is reverting to its pre-COVID practice of requiring payment in full when fees are due at the beginning of July.

During COVID, members had been allowed to split the payment over two instalments six months apart to help cashflow. ABTA also cut fees by 50%.

In the email to members, Head of Membership Danny Waine said: “This increase is below the current inflation rate of 10.1%.   All other calculations will be made on the same basis as the 2022-2023 membership year.

“As indicated to members this time last year, and with the worst impacts of the pandemic over and member cashflow typically recovering, ABTA will revert to its usual process of one annual payment, due on 3 July 2023, and each July thereafter.

“Annual membership renewal for the year 2023-2024 is from 1 July 2023 (covering the membership year up to and including 30 June 2024) and is conditional upon full payment of the relevant subscription for the whole year.”

However, one agent told Travel Gossip: “I’m not sure where ABTA thinks the magic money tree is.

“As well as the fee increase, it’s a real blow to agents having to find the money all in one go.”

An ABTA spokesperson told Travel Gossip: “ABTA’s Board, comprised of ABTA members, has decided to increase member subscription rates by 8.5% for the 2023-2024 membership year. This increase is below inflation.

“We are not immune from inflationary pressures ourselves meaning that a smaller increase in subscription rates is not possible if we are to continue providing the services which members tell us they want.

“During the pandemic, ABTA cut membership fees by 50%, funded by our reserves, and a year in which ABTA experienced a £3m loss.

“As ABTA enters the second year of a three-year business plan, ABTA’s Board has confirmed that it is prepared to continue to access ABTA’s reserves, on a reducing scale over that three-year period, to minimise subscription increases. 

“As indicated to members this time last year, and with the worst impacts of the pandemic over and member cashflow typically recovering, ABTA will revert to its usual process of one annual payment, due on 3 July 2023, and each July thereafter.”

Last year, Attraction Tickets left ABTA in protest at what it deemed to be unfair membership fees and high salaries paid to ABTA directors.

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