ABTA to give smaller retailers a voice, but not everyone is happy

By Harry Kemble
07/03/2023
Home » ABTA to give smaller retailers a voice, but not everyone is happy

ABTA is planning to give smaller agents a greater voice by offering one Board place to a director of a company with less than £10 million turnover.

However, Travel Gossip understands that only members of the ABTA Council of Regions can apply for the new position. 

One travel agent who has been calling for greater representation for smaller agents since the pandemic has expressed disappointment at the policy. 

Jill Waite, Director of Pole Travel and co-founder of Travel Agents Reform Group Engaged Together (TARGET), said every retail member should be given a chance to join ABTA’s Board.

She said the position shouldn’t be limited to members of the Council of Regions.

The Council has one representative from each of England’s 10 regions, plus Scotland, but the positions for the south, east and southwest are currently vacant, so there are only eight members who would be eligible to apply for the proposed ABTA Board position. 

“To be honest that’s not what we asked for. I don’t understand why they have done that,” said Jill. “They’re giving a place on the board but from the Council of Regions. You don’t even have to be an agent on the Council of Regions. 

“They’re just trying to control who is on that board because they know people like me will question how they are spending the money,” she added. “We’re not represented on the board – it’s not fair.”  

ABTA figures, seen by Travel Gossip, show that in April 2022, 59% of its retail members had a turnover below £2m and 64 members had a turnover of below £1m, but of its 12 Board members, only two were part of a company with a turnover of less than £20 million. 

An ABTA spokesperson said: “We are having conversations with the Council of Regions about the makeup of the Board, yet no decisions have been made by ABTA’s Board regarding any changes.  

“As always, if there are any changes to the Board, we will update members through our usual communication channels.” 

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