Henbury Travel boss to join ABTA board

Richard Slater, Henbury Travel owner, joins ABTA Board
By Harry Kemble
30/06/2023
Home » Henbury Travel boss to join ABTA board

The Chair of the ABTA north-west region has been appointed to the trade association’s Board of Directors.

Richard Slater, the Managing Director of one-branch agency Henbury Travel in Macclesfield, was selected by other ABTA regional chairs to take up the position.

His appointment ends months of speculation about how ABTA would fill this new vacancy on its Board.

Only members of the Council of Regions, of which Richard is one, could be nominated for the role, despite calls from agents to open the search up to all ABTA members to ensure better representation on the Board.

ABTA said Richard’s appointment would bring additional travel retail experience to the Board, alongside Typically Holidays Managing Director Daniele Broccoli, who currently holds the position for businesses with a retail turnover of less than £20 million.

Richard will start his two-year at the ABTA AGM on 21 September.

ABTA Chairman Alistair Rowland said: “Richard has been ABTA Regional Chair for the north-west since 2019 and over that time has been a tireless advocate for his fellow ABTA members.

“During the pandemic Richard was a regular presence on both local and national TV and radio making the case for high street retailers as well as providing informed and articulate comment for the national media.

“Richard’s experience and expertise will be invaluable for his fellow Board members, and I am delighted to welcome him to the team.”

Richard (pictured) added: “I am delighted and honoured that my fellow ABTA regional chairs have selected me to be their representative on the ABTA Board of Directors.

“I look forward to working with the other directors and hope that my experience of and commitment to the high street travel agency market helps in the development of the future strategy of our association.”

Jill Waite, Director of Pole Travel and co-founder of Travel Agents Reform Group Engaged Together (TARGET), welcomed Richard’s appointment.

She said: “I think it’s brilliant news. We need to have smaller agents on the board because ABTA needs to be in touch with smaller agents.”

Jill called on ABTA to ‘get to know’ independent agents more going forward. “I think ABTA has lost sight of the smaller agent over the years,” she said. “Hopefully having Richard on the Board will remind them of what we can do.”

And she asked for another Board place to be created for an agency boss with a turnover of under £5m.

“I think there should be a shake-up of how board is represented,” she added.

Asked if she had spoken to Richard, Jill confirmed she had, adding: “He is obviously very pleased. He’s such a good person. During COVID, he appeared on TV and showed that he obviously cares about the smaller agent.

“He has been a small agent for years.”

ABTA is inviting nominations for three more Board positions: a retail business less than £20m, a principal business less than £50m and a principal business not less than £50m.

Both retail positions are coming to the end of their two-year terms, while the principal business position is currently vacant.

Graeme Brett, the other TARGET co-founder described Richard’s appointment as a ‘huge step in the right direction’.

“It is not exactly what we asked for but it is a huge victory for travel agents,” he said.

“Thank you to all the ABTA travel agent members who campaigned with TARGET for this We wanted directly elected travel agents, but Richard Slater certainly fits the bill for the type of person we wanted to represent travel agents.”

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